Who needs elections? (HB78)

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We are now fast approaching the fifth anniversary of the 12 January 2010 earthquake. In many ways, it will be a historic moment for Haiti. Not only because of the devastation caused five years ago but also as it is the day on which the country will officially become a dictatorship again and as such, just months after Jean-Claude Duvalier's death, takes one more giant step back into its Duvalierist past. We provide in-depth analysis of this concerning situation in the latest edition of our Haiti Briefing entitled "Who needs elections?"

The fifth anniversary of the devastating earthquake of 2010 will mark another historic moment: it is the day on which Haiti officially becomes a dictatorship and as such, just months after Jean-Claude Duvalier’s death, takes one more giant step back to its Duvalierist past.

On 12 January 2015, the man- dates a further 10 of the country’s 30 senators will expire, rendering the upper house of the National As- sembly inquorate and powerless. The Senate has been barely quorate since January 2012, when elections to replace the first third of its members should have been held.

Three years on, those elections have yet to materialise, while the deadline for the next scheduled poll

to elect a second one-third tranche of the Senate as well as all 99 mem- bers of the lower house, also now due to face the electorate, has also passed. With no lower house and an inquorate upper house, the legisla- ture will be inoperative and total power will revert to the executive, with President Michel Martelly ‘left with no option’ but to govern by decree.

The origins of the crisis go back to the electoral coup d’état that brought Martelly to power in 2011. Why would the President bother with elections when the only man- date that matters is that dictated by the foreign powers that ‘selected’ him for the run-off election that brought him to power in the first place? (See inset story).