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Haiti’s newsreel : Electoral Commission

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Haiti’s Electoral Commission chairperson, Ms. Guirlande Mesadieu has stated that constitutional reforms proposed by the government will go on as planned. Ms. Mesadieu statement published in the official gazette, Le Moniteur, further elaborated that provisions detailed in the official decree are the results of consultation with the various sectors of the political and social life of society, and the CEP is expected to devote the first quarter of 2021 to put in place the mechanisms for organizing and realizing an election. These mechanisms include registration of political parties, recruitment of staff, publication of the electoral list and registration of candidates. The results of the consultations will be published by the Head of State immediately after a three (3) day period for disputing and challenging the findings with the final report to be published on May 2, 2021. With such assurance, the electoral process seems to be getting traction with the recruitment of members for the communal and departmental electoral officials, Bureaux Électoraux Communaux et Départementaux (BEC et BED) opened on January 7, 2021 with potential candidates applying for positions encouraged to submit their application and documents no later than January 15, 2021. The BEC and BEDs which are the decentralized structures in the electoral process and are critical in setting the process in motion, so activities are going on full steam even though the budget for these entities have not yet been made public. Meanwhile, the committee responsible for drafting the new constitution has benefited from an extension of its mandate in order to refine the work that it is undertaking.

While the CEP, which is contested by the majority of opposition parties, is working hard to lay the foundations for a referendum on the constitution by April 25, 2021.The new constitution creates the office of a vice-president. According to Dr. Louineau Pierre, member of the consultative body drafting the new constitution, the post of a vice president is one of the new requirements for which a considerable majority of the people is in favor of. The vice presidency will bring stability in face of insurgency tendencies of most political actors, and the practice of reluctance to respect mandates. With a vice president who can replace the president on short notice, it will be possible to avoid elections on short notice. Mr. Pierre noted that the vice president will not replace the prime minister in the current political regime. The vice president will not lead the government nor control the public treasury; instead, the vice president will be loyal to the president, who must designate him or her before election campaign. In the event that an elected vice president resigns, the head of state can appoint another person pending parliamentary approval.

In other news, the opposition collective known as the La Direction politique de l’opposition dite démocratique (DIRPOD) is encouraging people to come together across the entire country to present a united opposition front against President Jovenel Moïse to force him to respect the constitutional mandate which expects his term to come to an end February 7, 2021. DIRPOD called for a transition government in place to allow state institutions to function normally while plans for new elections are drawn out. It has been a year since the President dissolved parliament as all the parliamentarians and two thirds of the senate became vacant. The group opines that though President Moïse may have prevented the return of parliament, he will not be able to prevent a return to politics during which the opposition and sovereign people defend their democratic values. The group implores the Canadian government to adopt an approach to resolving the political impasse in Haiti with the knowledge that the Haitian civil society can oversee a smooth transition.

Elsewhere, the government has launched a new post Covid 19 Economic Recovery Plan in a ceremony on Monday, January 11, 2021, to address the socio-economic crisis facing the nation over recent years. In a speech, the President said that launching the program is a way to signify that there is a country to build, dignity to safeguard, a heroic past to honor and cherish, and that the new plan will ensure an investment in growth, resilience and opportunities, laying the foundations for a new dynamic of sustainable human development. If the government feels confident and proud about the new plan, others critical of the plan wonder, under what conditions they would achieve such a post / Covid-19 economic recovery, in a context marked by a total lack of responsible management, violence by armed gangs, running with impunity, terror by political leaders who seek to impose their views in arbitrariness, repression, systematic violations of human rights, and failure to respect the Constitution and the laws of the republic. Based on the above stated facts, there is no indication that this plan has a bright future.

Finally, the second round of the finals of the championship game between Violette Athletic Club (VAC) and Arcahaie Football Club (AFC) was marred by violence, resulting in two dead and many more injured and several cars were set on fire. The game being played at the Parc Saint-Yves, in l’Arcahaie, outside of Port-au-Prince. It all started when players, Samuel Mardochée Pompée of VAC and Olnick Alézy of AFC were ejected from the game following an altercation on the pitch. This provoked people throwing of stones among the attendees. Soon shots were heard, and tear gas was thrown in the air. One of the two victims was a resident of Arcahaie known as Volvo, who was killed with a bullet to the head. Among those wounded is the journalist Manoël Nelson, who writes for the online journal, League Sport Plus. The game was interrupted before the end of the first half, with a draw, after Fritzner Osselin opened the score in less than a minute of play, precisely 21 seconds into the game, with AFC equalizer to come at the 19th minute by Mylove Dorvilien. The first game was played on Wednesday, January 7, 2021at the Centre Fifa Goal at Croix des Bouquets, which also saw violence but among players, when Éguynord Cinéus of AFC equalized the goal by Roberto Baggio Louima of VAC. The Violette won the first leg 2-1.

Dela Harlley

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