February 7 2016
Haiti’s political crisis and instability dates back decades, with the legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination, and chronic poverty and violence compounded by the devastating 2010 earthquake, from which the country is still recovering
Haiti’s President Michel Martelly gives the presidential sash to the Senate President Jocelerme Privert during a ceremony in Parliament Feb. 7, 2016. | Photo: Reuters
Haitian President Michel Martelly bid farewell to the country on Sunday in line with an agreement to pass authority over to a transitional government to fill the power void in the wake of last month’s presidential run-off being cancelled due to violence and allegations of fraud.
In his final address before the Parliament, Martelly said his “biggest regret is that the presidential election was postponed,” but called for unity to tackle the ongoing challenges that plague the crisis-ridden country.
Provisional president to be chosen
Prime Minister Evans Paul is to remain in office and a provisional president will be chosen by Parliament in coming days.
“Today is a difficult day, but we have to unite ourselves to face the difficulties,” said Martelly to the National Assembly, which will now decide on the transitional government. “We are a brave nation, a nation that has honor and an important history for the world.”
teleSUR Correspondent Madelein Garcia reported from Port-au-Prince Sunday that Martelly passing the presidential sash without an elected president to receive it marked an unprecedented moment in Haitian politics.
Protests against his government
Martelly also called for peace and for Haitian people to abandon violence in the wake of some protests against his government that turned violent. The outgoing president also said he is “not going anywhere,” pledging his commitment to the country by invoking iconic figures of the Haitian revolution.
Martelly’s departure comes after he signed an agreement Saturday to leave his post when his term expired Sunday, after previously refusing to resign until another leader was secured.
The transitional government will have a mandate of 120 days, during which it will be responsible for organizing elections to select the president in April. The newly elected president will take office in May.
Alleged electoral fraud
The opposition has called for an investigation into irregularities in the first round of presidential elections last October before a run-off vote is scheduled.
Widespread and sometimes violent protests over alleged electoral fraud in October’s presidential elections led to the indefinite suspension of the second round of voting, scheduled to take place Jan. 24.
The legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination
Haiti’s political crisis and instability dates back decades, with the legacy of colonization, occupation, U.S. domination, and chronic poverty and violence compounded by the devastating 2010 earthquake, from which the country is still recovering.
Many hope the upcoming electoral process will be a step toward ending the political instability that has plagued the Caribbean nation for the past three decades.
WATCH: Haitians Say They Will ‘Mobilize Till the End’ over Elections