Haiti’s only path to institutional and political stability is going to the polls – UN envoy

Casting a ballot in the second round of senatorial and parliamentary elections and the first round for a new president in Haiti’s capital Port au Prince, 25 October 2015. Photo UN/MINUSTAH/Logan Abassi

17 March 2016 – A protracted political crisis in Haiti may hamper the stabilization gains achieved in recent year and further decline the island nation’s economic growth, the top United Nations official in the country today told the Security Council.

Briefing the Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), Sandra Honoré, said the next few weeks would be decisive for the short and mid-term prospects for Haiti’s democratic consolidation.

“There is therefore no alternative to the return, as soon as possible, to the path of institutional and political stability, through the completion of the pending elections,” she said.

On 14 February, the Haitian National Assembly elected Jocelerme Privert as the island nation’s interim President, one week after former President Michel Martelly departed without a successor.

Mr. Privert will serve as interim President for 120 days, with an election scheduled for 24 April, following an agreement – known as the 5 February Agreement – between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process.

Despite efforts to preserve the timeline, “tensions continue to run high, with a political class yet to unite behind a common vision for the political process,” said Ms. Honoré.

In recent weeks, the confirmation of the Prime Minister and the reestablishment of the Provisional Electoral Council have been delayed.

In a press release overnight, Ms. Honoré, in a joint statement with other members of the international community represented in the so called “Core Group” (Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, United States, European Union and Organization of American States), expressed “grave concern” about the delays.

The “Core Group” strongly urged the Parliament to play its role in implementing the 5 February Agreement and vote on the Prime Minister’s government policy without delay.

“The ‘Core Group’ calls on all actors to spare no effort to ensure the implementation of the Agreement, in the interest of the Haitian people and their right to choose their leaders and representatives through elections,” according to the statement.

In her briefing to the Council, Ms. Honoré noted that the current security situation is fragile but largely peaceful.

The economy, however, is showing “signs of fatigue” with declines in public and private investment, waning growth and rising inflation.

To tackle these and other key challenges, “Haiti needs stable institutions and a capable governance system,” the UN envoy said.

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