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UN calls for elections in Haiti

Thursday, March 21, 2013 | 3:56 PM    

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UNITED NATIONS (CMC) - The United Nations Security Council has called on Haiti’s political leaders to break a 16-month impasse that has prevented the holding of long overdue elections.

Legislative and elections were due to take place in January 2012 at the latest, but in spite of an agreement signed in December between the executive and legislative branches to form an electoral commission, there have been no new developments.

“In the absence of these elections, over the past year we have seen the replacement of some 130 elected municipal governments with Presidential appointees,” said the Acting Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) Nigel Fisher.

Earlier this week, Haiti’s National Palace noted that parliament had finally sent the names of three of its members to sit on a nine-member electoral council that will be tasked with holding elections for mayors and 10 of 30 senate seats. But ongoing political friction, disagreements and concerns about who will ultimately sit on the powerful council risk delaying the balloting further.

“If elections are not held in 2013, it will become ever more difficult for the international community to accept excuses and delays,” Ambassador Guillermo E. Rishchynski of Canada said. “These overdue elections must be held in 2013 and as soon as possible.”

According to Fisher, the Haitian authorities must pass an electoral law and one governing political parties.

“Politics as zero sum gain is not something that moves a country forward. Developing a consensus around core elements of an inclusive, political process and democratic institutions is very important,” Fisher said.

Last month, Fisher scolded Haitian officials, saying the country was not “open for business” despite the assertions of its leaders.

Rishchynski said while Canada welcomes the spirit of the slogan, President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe “must devote themselves to delivering the reforms that have been promised.”

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