Haitian President called for unity on commemoration of Haiti independence
Haiti celebrated its 211th anniversary on January 1, 2015. President Martelly, speaking after mass at Gonaïves Cathedral, said it was time to put aside differences and unite as a country in preparation for long-delayed state and local elections.
Haiti has been in the throes of a mounting political crisis, which reached a high point when Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was forced to resign in deference to the Consultative Commission's recommendations in December. Martelly quickly appointed Evans Paul as prime minister and Parliament's approval will seal the deal. Martelly has consulted with all actors involved, and it has been agreed to extend the mandate of seated legislators, according to a signed document. Martelly used the occasion of the 211th anniversary to invoke a sense of renewal and purpose. He wants Parliament and all political parties and organizations to transcend their convictions, to unite and ". . . together to remove barriers that hold us back on the road to progress and development."
In 2014 Haiti's executive, legislative, and political parties signed an agreement to permit holding legislative and local elections. But the agreement was held hostage by six opposition senators, who would not sign an electoral law to authorize elections. Extremist political parties insisted the government abide by the Constitution to overrule the electoral law stalemate.
Without the extension signed, two thirds of Senate members and the entire Chamber of Deputies' terms would expire on January 12, 2015, leaving Martelly to rule by decree.
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