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LatinNews Daily - 14 June 2016

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Haiti: Tensions rise as decision on Privert’s mandate delayed

Development: On 13 June Haiti's interim government led by President Jocelerme Privert imposed an overnight national curfew from 10:00pm to 5:00am.

Significance: The office of interim Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles said that the curfew, which lasted until today (14 June), was necessary to deter acts “against life and property”, particularly in Port-au-Prince metropolitan area. The move reflects the growing security concerns as legislators were yesterday due to vote on whether to extend Privert’s 120-day mandate, which began on 14 February and is due to end today. With legislators unable to reach a decision fears of unrest became rife. This fear stems from calls to protest made by Parti Haïtien Têt Kalé (PHTK), the party of former president Michel Martelly (2011-2016), and its allies like Konvansyon inite demokratik (Kid), the party of Martelly’s former prime minister Evans Paul (2015-2016), which recently launched a new alliance, Entente Démocratique, against the interim government. Martelly’s presidential term ended on the constitutional deadline of 7 February in the absence of an elected successor following the cancellation of the scheduled 24 January presidential run-off election between the PHTK’s Jovenel Moïse and Jude Célestin of the opposition Ligue Alternative Pour le Progrés et l’Emancipation Haïtienne (Lapeh) party, amid fraud allegations. As well as calling for Privert to leave office, the Entente Démocratique also objects to the recent decision by the provisional electoral council (CEP), announced last week, to annul the first round presidential electoral results and call for fresh elections for 9 October.

  • Also indicative of security fears, on 10 June the US State Department revised a travel alert warning in light of the CEP’s announcement of a new election calendar. The new travel alert, which expires on 15 February 2017, notes that “Haiti’s unfinished presidential electoral process has made the political and security environment more uncertain, with possible demonstrations causing disruption to traffic and access to key locations in Port-au-Prince”.
  • The Entente Démocratique, which is headed up by Paul, received a boost on 8 June when the European Union (EU) criticised the report released the previous month by the local five-member verification commission (Cieve) tasked with looking into last year’s first round presidential elections. The Cieve had recommended the annulment of that vote due to irregularities, providing the basis for the CEP’s decision to call for the staging of fresh elections. With the US government having also challenged this decision, the EU, which has responded by recalling its electoral observer mission, has said that “despite a certain number of flaws and irregularities that were observed”, the first round presidential elections “were not, however, of the nature to alter the results”.

Looking Ahead: Haitian legislators are due to resume discussions regarding Privert’s mandate today.