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Haiti elections postponed indefinitely amid crisis

Elections and a constitutional referendum scheduled for the coming months in Haiti have been postponed indefinitely after the Monday dismissal of members of the electoral administration, plunging the country into further uncertainty.

Since their September 2020 appointment by late president Jovenel Moise, who was assassinated in July, the nine members of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) have been strongly criticized by the opposition and the public.

After developing several electoral calendars, the CEP set the first round of voting in presidential and legislative elections, as well as for a constitutional referendum, for November 7.

The second round of voting was scheduled for January 23, 2022, in conjunction with municipal and local elections.

But Prime Minister Ariel Henry published a decree Monday announcing the CEP members had been dismissed. He is preparing to appoint a new council but did not set a deadline for doing so.

Henry was appointed by Moise two days before the president was murdered.

Moise, who was gunned down in his home, had been ruling by decree after the 2018 legislative elections were postponed, and disputes arose over whether his term should end in February 2021 or 2022.

His slaying shook a country already battling poverty, spiraling gang violence and Covid-19.

A 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti in August, further destabilizing the island nation.

The elections and referendum had already been postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Haiti's parliament has been devoid of members since January 2020, and only 10 of the 30 senators are still in office, with their terms ending in January 2023.

The absence of any electoral agenda has weakened Haiti's political class, at a time when the country is facing a major humanitarian and security crisis.

According to the International Organization for Migration, nearly 3,500 Haitians have been deported back to the island in the last 10 days by the US migration service.

The unprecedented mass deportations came after tens of thousands of migrants, mostly Haitian, gathered under a bridge at the Mexico-Texas border, hoping to be granted entry to the United States.

Topics: Haiti , Jovenel Moise , Provisional Electoral Council , Ariel Henry
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