OAS sends special mission to Haiti over election crisis

Organisation of American States authorises special mission to help Haiti, where political unrest is simmering due to postponed presidential runoff vote

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

A protester blows a vuvuzela during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, January 22, 2016.

The threat of instability in Haiti prompted the Organisation of American States to authorise a special mission on Wednesday to help the troubled nation find a way out of a simmering political crisis and set a new date for a runoff election.

The OAS permanent council agreed on sending the mission to Haiti to assist with resolving a stalemate, now that elections have been delayed indefinitely and Haitian President Michel Martelly is expected to leave office on Feb.7.

The decision was taken after the president made a request, which Haiti's ambassador to the OAS, Bocchi Edmond, said that it was not an invitation to meddle Haitian affairs, but was intended to help the country avoid falling into an institutional vacuum and chaos.

Antigua's Ambassador, Ronald Sanders, who holds the rotating chair of the council, also stated that the organisation’s intention is “not to interfere, but to be hopeful.”

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has been suffering with political and economic instability, since ruler Jean Claude Duvalier was overthrown by a popular uprising in 1986.

Presidential and legislative runoff elections, set for last weekend were called off less than 48-hours before the vote, as huge protests stormed the country to demand fresh elections to be held and a new interim government to govern the country until the new election.

On October 25, in the first round of elections, Jovenel Moise who is backed by President Michel Martelly, received 32.8 percent of the votes, while opposition figure Jude Celestin received 25.3 percent.

TRTWorld and agencies