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Haiti takes decisive step toward holding elections with new decree

Paul paid a visit to the election authorities on Wednesday at the nine-member electoral council’s headquarters, where he presented the body with a decree, issued by Haitian President Michel Martelly and the cabinet, setting the legal framework for the holding of long-delayed elections to renew elected members in Parliament and local government entities around the country. 

“I wanted to symbolically deliver a copy of the decree, published in the Republic’s official gazette, Le Moniteur, to election authorities,” Paul told HCNN on Thursday.

“President Martelly and the government that I head we are doing all that depends on us to make sure that democratic, free, fair, inclusive and credible elections take place in Haiti this year,” assured Paul, confirming that two decrees had been adopted. 

The presidential election will take place on the constitutionally set date of October 25, 2015, but the first round of the ballot to renew two thirds of the 30-member senate and to elect 118 members of the Lower Chamber could take place as early as July, according to a tentative calendar recently issued by elections authorities for discussions among political parties and civil society groups.

Paul said the main obstacle to the organization of elections was the lack of legal provisions. That’s why the executive branch and other stakeholders have agreed to the promulgation of the two important decrees.

The first decree deals with the operational organization of the election, while the second modifies a June 2005 decree regarding the National Identification Card (CIN), by extending the validity of expired CIN until December 2017, given that many invalid identification card holders had expressed concern about their right to vote, since the National Identification Office would not have the capacity to renew in time for the upcoming elections all the expired cards.

Presenting a valid CIN is a prerequisite to the exercise of the right to vote and the lack of administrative capability of the Identification Office has generally caused long delays in the delivering of identification cards.

The president of the electoral council, Pierre Louis Opont, reiterated the commitment of his institution to the holding of free and credible elections before the end of the year and promised the publication of a final calendar, following a meeting planned for next week between the council and political parties.




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