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Haiti - Constitution : A few minutes before midnight, parliamentarians have changed their minds... (UPDATE 11-05-2011)
Dr. George Michael, former "Constituant" of 1987 states in his first technical observations that:
1 - The transitional provisions were rejected by the National Assembly on May 9 at 11.50 pm.
2 - The Assembly had no time to proceed to the vote of the entire project, because it was reached by the time limit. At zero hour one minute Tuesday, May 10 201 (midnight one minute), everything had to be completed, under penalty of exceeding the constitutional limit and of admissibility of all amendments. The National Assembly has not had time to complete its work within the constitutional deadline, it is therefore "forclose".
3- The President of the Assembly should to reread all the amendments voted Sunday and Monday, this was not done because the parliamentarians knew it was midnight least ten and that they would not have time to read in ten minutes thirteen (13) pages of amendments. Affected by the limit of time, they did not have the material time to proceed in the constitutional deadline to this essential formality which had become inoperative, the fateful delay of midnight one minute then passed to accomplish it properly.
Update : Sequence of events that led parliamentarians to cancel the vote, made Monday early evening, favourable to two consecutive presidential terms, to return to the initial situation, two non-consecutive presidential terms.
Monday early evening, Steven Benoit has cried foul when his peers were preparing to adopt the article 134.1 of the declaration that allows two consecutive terms for a president "Members of the Commission responsible for finalizing the report, have added this article, and several others, unbeknownst of several other members of the commission" has protested Benoit...
Disagreeing allegations against his colleague, the President of the Commission, the Senator François Anick Joseph clarified that "there were several drafts of the document...." referring to the blocking of the Commission last Saturday, stuck on this Article 134.1, which prevented to complete the report "we contact the outgoing President René Préval, at the origin of this amendment, which proposed us a solution with the harmonization of mandates [...] President-elect Joseph Michel Martelly was also contacted [...] René Préval and Joseph Michel Martelly sent us Saturday their respective representatives to ensure that our work is completed in good and due form."
Finally, the Article 134.1 was voted in on Monday evening by 73 votes for, 4 against and 7 abstentions, the parliamentarians have approved the replacement of Article 134.3 by 134.1. in a version different from that originally provided in the Declaration of Amendment to of the Constitution.
The article 134.1 amended Monday evening, reads as follows:
"The presidential term is five (5) years. It is immediately re-eligible, but in no case run for a third term"
It is almost midnight... Time is no longer to the discussions, but for action... some parliamentarians do not hesitate to say "If we can not adopt article 285 concerning our mandate, all the amendment falls" time passes. The parliamentarians make blocks... at 11:53pm, the Senators and Deputies prepare to leave... Concerned about a possible rejection of the declaration of amendment, the Senator Kelly Bastien [former President of the Senate], one of the responsible of the Platform INITE, tries, successfully, to bring its colleagues to reason "We need to save, before midnight, the amendment process... I suggest to remove the part concerning the transitional arrangements and to return to the vote in favor given to article 134.1 to solve the problem. It would be a lose if noon comes without a decision. All work will be postponed to 5 years..."
Following this intervention, the National Assembly President Jean Rodolph Joazile (INITE) and parliamentarians have adopted the declaration of amendment shortly before midnight. For Joazile, the session of amendment of the constitution of March 29, 1987 is a "success" It is also the reason for the volte-face of parliamentarians on Article 134.1.