Sophia Martelly's Candidacy for Haiti senate seat rejected

Electoral Council rules First Lady ineligible to run for Senate Seat


Sophia Martelly, First Lady of Haiti, has failed to become eligible for a bid at a senate seat in Parliament. The Electoral Council has denied her candidacy on the grounds of nationality and administrative clearance issues.

Electoral judges claim the First Lady did not give up her U.S. passport, the final step required before she can run for the senate. She has surrendered her foreign passport, also a legal and constitutional pre-condition, but is a hold-out on turning over her U.S. passport. Born in the U.S., she must become a naturalized citizen of Haiti in order to legitimize her candidacy. Also at issue is lack of clearance from the Administrative Court auditors. As chairwoman of a presidential commission her position has entailed handling public funds drawn from the general fund.

The First Lady and her son Oliver have been under investigation, with allegations they have embezzled money from government coffers, betraying the public trust. A lot of ink has been spilled over this matter but charges have never been brought against the pair.

Her attorney, Gregory Mayard-Paul, claims the First Lady never personally handled funds drawn from the treasury. The responsibility for dispensing public funds was the duty of others on the commission. Mayard-Paul asserts "Sophia Martelly meets all legal and constitutional requirements to run for the senate", declared a day in advance of the ruling. The Electoral Council states its ruling is final on the two aforementioned issues.

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