The United States is calling on Haiti’s politicians to make the necessary compromises to avoid one-man rule by President Michel Martelly on Monday, and the country slipping deeper into political chaos.
“We want to see elections happen, agreement on elections, and we also want to avoid rule by decree,” said the State Department’s Haiti Special Coordinator Thomas Adams. “We think its better if all three branches of government are existing and functioning.
“We think there is a fair chance that they can reach that kind of agreement by Monday,” he added. “We’re certainly urging them on.”
On Thursday, opposition groups demanding Martelly’s resignation took to the streets of the capital, accusing him of corruption and delaying elections. The president has denied the accusations, accusing six senators of holding the country hostage by refusing to vote an electoral law that is needed for elections to be held.
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After meeting with senators and opposition parties Wednesday, Martelly resumed meetings Thursday. Former Senator Edmonde Supplice Beauzile, who heads the opposition party Fusion Social Democrats, said on a morning Port-au-Prince Creole radio program that an agreement had been reached about which sectors the nine members of a new Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) would be drawn.
But Beauzile said consensus still had not been reached on Martelly’s choice of prime minister, Evans Paul. Paul was tapped to replace former Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, who resigned last month amid domestic and international pressure. Opposition groups have objected to Paul saying he wasn’t picked as a result of political negotiations..
In a statement, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Primce said it is encouraged by the ongoing negotiations to resolve the impasse.
“Only through the participation of a broad spectrum of political parties can the choice of the Haitian people be accurately reflected on election day,” it said. “To that end, the USG already has in place a robust program to support the conduct of elections and the participation of the Haitian electorate, and pending approval from U.S. Congress, the U.S. government is prepared to support additional measures for democratic political parties to play their part and participate fully in the electoral process.”
The U.S. government has pledged $13 million to help with elections this year and is willing to consider additional resources as are other donors.
Adams said he hopes come Monday, the story “is not that Haiti’s in permanent political gridlock but more that Haiti has made progress.”