Three-year saga of Haiti's legislative elections increase risk to foreign investment

Haitian Economy to Suffer if no Elections held by January 2015. The longer Haiti delays on having state and local elections the worse it is for the country's economy.


Elections have been set back time after time since 2011 while wrangling continues over issues like the seating of the Permanent Electoral Council. Once that problem was settled--or seemed to be--the legitimacy of a political appointee became a red herring to keep the government from setting a date for elections again.

What happens if Haiti does not hold elections by January 2015 (and it is very doubtful; it takes six months to prepare for an election) is President Martelly will rule by decree. Foreign investors are concerned if this should come to pass the risk for violent uprisings will force the country into a period of political instability, a climate antithetical to foreign investment. Currently, potential investors are reluctant to invest in Haiti due to its lack of good governance, and its effect on attracting enough investment to its tourism sector, because of political gridlock.

Haiti has three bi-lateral investment treaties signed with European states. But because elections are being stalled "favorable conditions" do not exist under which foreign investors would feel safe. In other words, under these treaties Haiti is obligated to provide ". . . full protection and security for investment on its territory."

As far back as June 2014 the Senate Speaker sounded the alarm "the country would plunge into chaos if there are no elections in the autumn."

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