The Associated Press – April 13, 2013
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s government has taken an initial step to
solve a problem that has frustrated Haitians and foreign donors alike: the
failure to hold local and legislative elections initially set for 2011.
The government of President Michel Martelly said late Friday that the
nine-member council, with representatives from the executive, judicial and
legislative branches, will be in charge of laying out an electoral calendar
and then registering political parties and voters.
Haiti was supposed to hold legislative and local elections in late 2011 but
the authorities failed to agree on the composition of an electoral panel to
oversee the vote.
The holdup has frustrated the impoverished Caribbean nation’s major aid
donors, and they have stepped up pressure for a vote before year’s end.
The election is meant to fill 10 seats in the 30-member Senate, which has
been operating at two-thirds of its capacity since the terms expired almost
a year ago, and hundreds of local posts.
In the absence of elections, Haiti has seen the replacement of some 130
elected municipal governments with presidential appointees.
It will be the most complex election in Haiti since 2006, and some 35,000
candidates are poised to run, according to U.N. officials. In the past,
local elections have been the most vigorously contested.
The elections will cost about $40 million. The United States is
contributing about $10 million, and the European Union said it would
contribute 5 million euros ($6.7 million). Canada, too, has said it will
pitch in but hasn’t decided how much.