UN Security Council calls for elections in HaitiTuesday, January 06, 2015
UNITED NATIONS (CMC) — President of the United Nations Security Council Cristian Barros Melet says elections must take place in Haiti "in order to normalise the legislative process and the presidential process".
Baros Melet, who is also Chile's UN Ambassador, told reporters that members of the Security Council would be travelling to Port au Prince later this month so as to impress upon the authorities there the need to stage the elections that were originally due in October last year.
During the Security Council's January 23-25 visit, Barros Melet said the unanimous message from the 15 members would be that "the priority of the president of Haiti should be to develop a credible electoral timetable, a timetable that is also feasible and can be implemented".
Late last month, President Michel Martelly may have averted a political crisis in the French-speaking Caribbean Community country after reaching a tentative agreement with the heads of the two Houses of Parliament.
The accord is likely to result in approval of a "consensus" government that could include Evans Paul, the president's new choice for prime minister to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned in December.
The agreement would also extend the terms of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, due to run out on January 12 next year, but only if an electoral law is passed first.
In recent weeks, Martelly has been meeting with several social and political groups in a bid to pave the way for the holding of the long-delayed election to renew two-thirds of the 30-member Senate, the entire Lower Chamber and hundreds of local government bodies.
Out of the 30 senate members, only 20 remain in office, and amendments to an existing electoral law are required to facilitate the vote.
But six Opposition legislators have consistently refused to attend the meetings of the Senate, preventing the body from getting the required 16-member quorum needed to hold a session.
Political observers note that by January 12 next year, the Haitian Parliament will become dysfunctional with only 10 senators left, while 16 are required to hold a session. The observers note that failure to elect the new Senators could result in President Martelly ruling by decree.
But Opposition parties have already signalled their intention to not blindly follow the agreement and have instead announced plans for street demonstrations this week in a bid to force Martelly out of office.
President Martelly was forced to reschedule a sitting of the Senate on Monday after Opposition legislators failed to provide the necessary quorum. The meeting is now scheduled for Wednesday.
During its visit to Haiti, members of the Security Council will also visit the UN peacekeeping mission, which is now reducing its presence on the island.
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