Haiti - Politic : The February 7, a day like any other or not ?
"Only a legitimately elected president can replace the president at the end of his mandate", has declared René Préval on the occasion of the independence celebrations in Haiti. To avoid en "empty" in power, President Préval has made voted a law last spring by both Houses (Deputies and Senators), which allows him to remain at thepower until May 14, date corresponding to the five years of his official taking office.
There are two possible interpretations of the Haitian Constitution, an article specifically says that February 7 is the date of transfer of power and another article states that the president's term is 5 years. It is based on the latter article that the government passed this law contested by both parties of the opposition as a part of the population.
Today, the Haitian opposition demands the strict application of the Constitution [Article 149], that is to say the departure of René Préval, on Monday February 7, and the formation of a transitional government. But this alternative requires time, a time that many Haitians believe now no longer have.
Article 149: In case of vacancy of the Presidency of the Republic for any reason whatsoever, the President of the Court of Cassation of the Republic or in his absence, the Vice-President of this Court or in default of the latter, the oldest judge and so forth in order of seniority, is invested temporarily with the duties of President of the Republic by the National Assembly duly convened by the Prime Minister. The vote for the election of new president for another term of five (5) years has held forty-five (45) days and ninety (90) days after the opening of the vacancy, accordance with the Constitution and the Electoral Law.
The Opposition groupings Fusion, Ucadde, Alternative, Rasanblé and Libération who have the support of a group of senators and the group of 12 presidential candidates [who demand the annulment of the elections], consider that the prolongation of the mandate of the Head of State is contrary to the Haitian Constitution and announce a series of anti-government protest starting today.
"I doubt that the Haitian people are ready to start over with a new provisional government, a new Provisional Electoral Council. It'll take us another year," argues Pierre Espérance, director of the National Network for the Defence of Human Rights (RNDDH) in Haiti "We'll see the reaction of the the people on 7 February. But I believe that despite the many irregularities and fraud recorded during elections on 28 November, the process must continue so that there is a new president elected and a new Parliament and this soon."
Although the government candidate, Jude Célestin be excluded of the second round, this does not mean that the party INITE, will lose its political influence, prevents Marcel Dorigny historian and professor at the University Paris 8 "If the the party INITE retains a majority, perhaps even strengthened, the Senate and the House of Deputies, there is a considerable margin of blocking [...] At the time of the first mandate of Préval, [between the two terms of Aristide], we had also experienced a complete blocking situation, since there was no Government ratified several years. There was a government appointed by President Préval, but which was not ratified by the Assembly which had always refused. So this government could not govern. It could only send current affairs. This is absolutely catastrophic if we find ourselves in that situation, given the state of Haiti after the earthquake. Either we must make decisions, or we need a government that governs. A government that can build momentum and especially to provide guarantees to the international community that will fund the reconstruction".
See also :
http://www.haitilibre.com/article-4-haiti-politique-rene-preval-joue-les-prolongations.html (in french)
http://www.haitilibre.com/article-28-haiti-politique-match-preval-opposition1-0.html (in french)