Michel Martelly assumed responsibility for plunging Haiti into turmoil

Haiti's President Martelly reluctantly took responsibility for the political impasse that has brought the country to its knees. He waited until just weeks before the end of the year to appoint a commission to make recommendations on how to pacify opposition parties and protestors in the streets, calling for his resignation. He followed the commission's recommendation and asked Prime Minister Lamothe to resign, appointing Evans Paul as Lamothe's replacement.

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But Parliament stuck to its guns and would not pass the electoral law so elections could be held. They also did not confirm Paul as prime minister before their terms expired on January 12th. Now Haiti is bereft of a standing Parliament. It also has no elected mayors or local officials, no Supreme Court president, and no Central Bank governor. Still the international community is standing behind Martelly, who is ruling by decree.

Martelly has installed Paul and formed a consensus government, 36 appointed men and women sworn in immediately. In appointing 20 new ministers, Martelly kept nearly half of whom had worked under Lamothe. The consensus government must gain the trust necessary for state and local elections to be held, besides the presidential campaign.

Political analyst Robert Fatton says if an electoral council is seated and elections are organized quickly "we may be entering a new phase in Haitian politics." If the opposite scenario happens and elections are held off too long ". . . things could easily fall apart"

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