Pompeo Calls on Haiti to Hold ‘Overdue’ Legislative Elections

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling on Haiti’s government to hold legislative elections “as soon as technically feasible.””Haiti’s legislative elections are now overdue. We continue to call for elections as soon as technically feasible. We understand that the OAS secretary-general has called for those elections to be held by the end of January,” Pompeo said in a video clip posted on Twitter..Haitian Président Jovenel Moïse welcomes new members of electoral council, Sept. 22, 2020. (Yves Manuel/VOA Creole)”Your country is grateful for your courage,” Moise tweeted.Je suis donc heureux aujourd’hui de procéder à l’installation de ce CEP. C’est dans un contexte difficile que vous avez pris la décision de servir la République. En acceptant de devenir membres de ce CEP, vous faites un acte de courage pour lequel le pays vous sera reconnaissant. Pierre François Sildor, president of Haiti’s Senate. (Renan Toussaint/VOA Creole)”What it (the constitution) says is what must be done,” the senator said. “It says there must be a representative from the executive branch – the executive did not name a representative. It says there must be a representative of the Episcopal Conference – the Catholic church and other religious sectors did not name a representative. It requires a representative of the universities – there isn’t one. It requires a union representative – they didn’t name one – these are four huge sectors of society – everyone knows that – and they are not represented.”Residents of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, interviewed by VOA Creole shortly after the CEP swearing-in ceremony in September, opposed the idea of holding elections.”This president thinks he can rule unilaterally, but we’d like to remind him he needs to consult the people (before making these decisions),” a man who declined to give his name said.”We are dealing with insecurity, we have no customers, no cash flowing in – forget about elections, Jovenel Moise needs to understand we need security first,” a female merchant at an open-air market told VOA.”People are dying in the streets, we don’t have food to eat, and you’re talking about elections?” a male customer at an open-air market said. “Jovenel Moise cannot hold elections.”OAS expresses concern about HaitiIn May 2020, the Organization of American States Secretary General Luis Almagro An anti-US protest leader says America has no right to interfere in Haiti’s politics. (Matiado Vilme/VOA Creole)Presidential adviser Patrick Crispin announced on June 23 that legislative elections are planned for December 2020. In the meantime, there have been no parliamentary checks and balances on the president’s decrees.Leadership vacuumFailure to hold elections before Moise’s term ends would leave Haiti in a leadership vacuum. The opposition has floated the idea of a “transitional government” to rule the country in the meantime, but after countless meetings, they have failed to agree on much of anything.”A transitional government should organize elections because we cannot campaign for office, the political climate is not conducive at this time,” an opposition leader told VOA Creole.Anti-US protestOn Sept. 24, the opposition held a small protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, during which protesters chanted, “In this climate of insecurity we will not participate in elections!””We … Haitians want Americans to know that although they are threatening sanctions against those of us who stand against this illegitimate (electoral) council, we’re not afraid,” a protest leader told VOA Creole. “There will be no election as long as Jovenel Moise is in power. The United States has no authority to order us around.”The opposition announced nationwide protests on Oct. 17, a national holiday honoring the life of Jean Jacques Dessalines, one of the nation’s founders and a hero of the revolutionary war for independence. They say they will be calling on Moise to resign.In Port-au-Prince, VOA Creole’s Renan Toussaint, Matiado Vilme and Yves Manuel contributed to this report. 


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