It appears Haiti might be finding its way out of a political black hole. The Carribean nation just appointed a new interim president, former head of Parliament, Jocelerme Privert, who took office on February 14. Haiti’s former controversial leader, Michel Martelly, resigned just seven days prior after allegations of election fraud came to light, leaving no successor in place. Privert, however was able to take the top spot (for now) beating out Dejan Belizaire and Edgar Leblanc Fils, both former presidents of Haiti's senate.
While Privert has major plans to turn Haiti around, including possibly creating a taskforce to investigate corruption during Martelly’s reign, this is yet another temporary government that will change hands once again on May 14 if elections are successfully held on April 24.
Since Dec. 27, 2015, Haiti’s election process has been postponed due to various threats, protests, and even violent demonstrations. Security concerns and a major pushback from Haitians throughout the country have delayed elections with the opposition reportedly refused to participate in the process on Jan. 24, 2016.
To preserve Haitian democracy and begin the climb out of political turmoil, United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as the U.N. and its partners in Haiti, combined forces to create the next best solution— an interim president.
“This election stems from the agreement signed on Feb. 6 between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process,” said Ki-moon in a statement issued on Monday.
“[The] election is a fundamental step in the implementation of the Political Agreement for Institutional Continuity, signed on Feb. 5 between the branches of the executive and legislative branches of power,” said Sandra Honoré, the U.N. Special Representative in Haiti in a joint statement with other members of the international community represented in the “Core Group,” including Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, the United States, the European Union and the Organization of American States.
While Privert promises to create a government that will be “capable of inspiring confidence, and create peace for the continuation of the electoral process,” Haiti is stuck with a temporary Band-Aid that involves outside forces picking up the pieces.
The road to the next round of elections is likely to come with additional challenges, starting with the creation of a new electoral council since six of its nine members have resigned.
The political system in Haiti is indeed broken and the people’s confidence in has waned over time. Sixty percent of the population continues to live below the poverty line and Haiti has struggled to get back on its feet following the 2010 earthquake that killed some 160,000 people and caused widespread destruction.
The morale and belief in political leaders has remained low, particularly since the end of the Duvalier dictatorship 30 years ago, causing Haitians to align their trust in organizations from other countries. There is an eternal hope that someone will be the anchor needed to pull people out of poverty.
Right now, trust and conviction in Haiti’s political system is fleeting, currently little more than an idea tossed around at press conferences. Proof to the people battling the struggles of poverty can be provided by creating the necessary elements needed to pull themselves out of these conditions. They continue to demand access to education, better transportation, and other social programs will strengthen their resolve rather than adding to a widening gap between wealthy politicians and the poor masses.
Haitian citizens are also demanding that Privert and whoever is elected as Haiti’s next president work together with an agenda aimed at bettering the people, sending a clear message domestically and abroad, that this temporary fix will be the last for the nation.