News of another postponement of elections in Haiti sparked nearly a week of protests. Some of them turned violent with windows shattered and small fires set on the streets of the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
CCTV’s Stephen Gibbs looked into who these protesters are and what they want. He reports from Port-au-Prince.
Haiti faces political uncertainty after vote postponedrotests have take place all weekend in the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. Haitians were supposed to elect a successor to President Michel Martelly on Sunday, but now that election is now postponed.
Three days after presidential elections were abruptly called off, the situation remains unclear. Demonstrators complained that the first round of the vote was fraudulent and claim the president is trying to rig the election so that his chosen successor wins.
Martelly, who denies this, has not made a public statement since last Thursday, when he said elections would be going ahead.
His supporters say this is all a show put on by his political opponents-who are bad losers.
But not all Haiti is rising up. There’s a very different atmosphere at Universite Quisqueya, a private university in Port-au-Prince.
People are looking forward to the start of the new term, but concerned that everything may be disrupted by major political uncertainty.
“The Haitian people aren’t in the streets. A lot of those protesters are being paid to protest. I don’t think it represents the Haitian people. I think the Haitian people want stability,” Patricia Camilien, head of the university’s student union said.
But not everybody agrees.
One of the senior governors here is a former prime minister of Haiti. Jacques-Edouard Alexis a former Haitian prime minister was in office under Martelly’s predecessor, and said Martelly is behaving like Haiti’s feared dictators, the Duvaliers, who ruled this country for almost 30 years, until 1986.
“We are witnessing the popular will in the face of an attempt to reimpose an unacceptable situation. Michel Martelly and his team are trying to bring back the dictatorial policies of the Duvaliers. That’s unacceptable in Haiti, after we have had a democratic transition,” Alexis said.
The former prime minister concedes that he and his team are not blameless-by failing to build the democratic institutions which could solve this.
“Yes, we certainly have a responsibilty for the difficult situation we are in-above all, for failing to create institutions like a permanent electoral council,” Alexis added.
With a distrusted electoral system, parliament, and judiciary, the question of who might arbitrate this is a concern.
The latest is that Martelly, who is supposed to leave office on February the 7th, is planning to announce some sort of transitional government, but that may not be acceptable to his opponents.
Haiti revitalization advocate Firmin Backer on Haiti’s elections and economic renewal for the country
To talk more about how critical these elections are in Haiti right now, and what it will take to turn the country around from the ongoing crisis it has been going through, Firmin Backer joined CCTV America. Backer is president of the Haiti Renewal Alliance. The organization aims to connect investors and entrepreneurs with opportunities inside of Haiti.