Haiti’s broken politics – The Washington Post

Haiti-Duvalier-3From time to time, Haiti’s chronic political dysfunction erupts in crisis and violence, compelling the international community to re-engage with an impoverished country it might prefer to disregard. Haiti is at just such a juncture right now. Policymakers in Washington and elsewhere should pay prompt attention, before the predictable calamity arrives.The brewing crisis arises from a three-year-old political impasse between President Michel Martelly and legislators that has blocked parliamentary and municipal elections. An election date came and went, triggering mounting protests and street violence in recent weeks.Now the clock is ticking toward what looks like a watershed. On Jan. 12 the terms of most members of parliament will expire. In the absence of a duly elected parliament, Martelly will be empowered to rule by decree, a dangerous scenario in a country with a history of autocracy and instability.Some lawmakers in the politically fractured parliament think Martelly, elected in 2011, has been angling all along to establish a de facto dictatorship. In fact, parliament shares the blame. A group of six senators has blocked legislation to establish an electoral council on the grounds that its composition and rules would favor candidates loyal to the president. With no council in place, elections are off the table. via Standard.net


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