Monday, January 30, 2017

Opinion: OpEd: Embracing Electoral Progress in Haiti Share

Kenneth H. Merten
Special Coordinator for Haiti and Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Washington, DC


In 2017, Haiti turns the page. For the next five years, stakeholders in Haiti have a choice. They can work together toward the common good of the nation, or they can sacrifice the interests of the Haitian people for individual advancement.
Kenneth H. Merten Photograph
courtesy of the U.S. Embassy in Hatti
Over a year has been lost in completing elections. Haiti deserves this long-awaited chance to regain its due. Democracy is always a work in progress, building on each step achieved, self-correcting as necessary, while maintaining a trajectory moving forward. Over two hundred years ago, the father of the Haitian Revolution Toussaint L’Ouverture demonstrated leadership by reminding early Haitian patriots to “reflect on the disasters which may ensue from longer obstinacy.” There is no need to forsake Haiti’s 213 years of accumulated nationhood by not heeding such sage advice. Let us allow the wind to fill Haiti’s sails and support its new leaders in setting the course.
While, the United States congratulates the Government of Haiti and the Provisional Electoral Council on the January 3 publication of the final presidential results, Haiti’s nearly two-year journey to democratically elect a president has taken a toll on the Haitian people, the national economy, and the country’s ability to address threats from natural disasters and other urgent issues. The United States is encouraged by the ongoing preparations to hold January 29 elections for legislative and local seats and calls on all actors to ensure that the election is secure, credible and free and fair. We look forward to the February 7 inauguration of Jovenel Moise as Haiti’s 58th President and to working closely with him and his government on the range of issues facing the Haitian people.
Having a legitimate government in place a fully functioning parliament and a democratically elected president ushers in a return to full constitutional rule and permits the Government of Haiti, civil society, and partners of Haiti to renew a reciprocal commitment to address key issues facing the Haitian people.

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