But the head of the Supreme Court and the Senate say they support the version being published. After 13 months of debates and missteps, a consensus has been reached, Senate President Simon Desras said.
“It’s time that justice be given to the four million Haitians who have been living outside of the country,” Desras said.
The debacle over the constitutional reforms was born in the final hours of the vote in May 2011 when a group of 16 senators — whose six years’ terms were set to expire — failed to win support for an extension of their terms. They wanted the extension as part of an effort to synchronize the election cycle to have one election every five years, something the international community desperately wanted. But during the vote, some lawmakers including those in the lower house opposed the extension, beginning the confusion about what passed and what didn’t.
Days after, then-President René Préval, who himself had opposed the extension of the senator’s mandate, signed the reforms and sent them to the government’s official journal for publication to become law. Soon, some lawmakers cried fraud, saying what was published was different from what actually passed. Martelly then annulled the changes and formed a special committee to resolve the issue.
Since then, Martelly has vacillated between publishing the changes and not doing so. But the international community, which supports changes to give Haitians living abroad greater rights in owning property and investing in Haiti, has pressured Martelly to publish the reforms.
“These amendments, though insufficient, are desirable and will strengthen a Constitution that is a source of Haitian pride,” the Club of Madrid, a group of former world leaders declared during a June 2011 visit to Haiti. “These improvements shall not be lost nor should their implementation be postponed as they add a net contribution to Haiti’s progress towards recovery, development, inclusion and freedom.”