Haiti’s Institutional Crisis Deepens

by Isabelle L. Papillon (Haiti Liberte)
Seventeen months after President
Michel Martelly became Haiti’s head of state with Washington’s backing, Haiti
is plunged into a downward spiral of institutional and political crisis. This
crisis traces its roots to Martelly’s illegal publication of amendments to
Haiti’s 1987 Constitution earlier this year and his illegal appointment of
judges to Haiti’s Supreme Court.
289 of the amended 1987 Constitution calls for a Provisional Electoral Council
until a Permanent Electoral Council can be formed, as provided for in Article

nine-member Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) is supposed to have three
representatives designated by each of the Haitian government’s three branches:
executive, judiciary, and parliamentary. However, it cannot be formed for two
reasons. First, there are only 20 sitting Senators (the terms of 10 expired in
May). Due to opposition in its ranks, the Senate has been unable to convene
two-thirds of its members in a National Assembly to designate its three
parliamentary representatives to a Permanent Council. Secondly, in August, four
of the nine members of the Superior Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) disavowed
the three members appointed by their body to the CEP, saying they were
illegally chosen under the leadership of the CSPJ’s president, Anel Alexis
Joseph, who is also head of the Supreme Court. The Senate passed a resolution
demanding President Martelly recall the three CEP representatives illegally
appointed by the CSPJ.
the CSPJ has appointed three new representatives to the CEP: Applys Félix,
Léopold Berlanger, and Carole Floréal Duclervil. The CSPJ now has six
representatives on the CEP, which is totally contrary to the Constitution and
has been widely denounced.
still, all of these officials have been appointed by the CSPJ to the CEP in a
totally irregular manner. The three new CEP members and the three previous
appointees – Yves Benoit Jean-Marie, Salnave Exantus, Patrick Metellus – are
all illegal and illegitimate due to the irregularities in the appointment of
three judges to the Supreme Court. (Exantus and Jean-Marie declared on Oct. 8
that they are “immovable under the Constitution” because they have taken
an oath).
pyramid of illegalities committed in forming the CEP is why leading senators
and many other scholars, activists, and jurists are calling for the formation
of a Provisional Electoral Council of Consensus.
Steven Benoit and 16 other senators passed a resolution saying that the
appointment of the CSPJ’s six representatives to the CEP is null and void
future and that Anel Alexis Joseph along with Supreme Court Judges Kesner
Michel Thermesi and Frantzi Philémon have been named to and occupy their posts
illegally and irregularly. This is because neither Thermesi nor Philémon were
on the list of Supreme Court justices nominees which the Senate provided
Martelly (the president must name judges from that list) and Anel Alexis Joseph
was older than 65, after which age new judges cannot be sworn in. The three
illegally seated justices were key to the CSPJ’s illegal seating of the CEP’s
current six members.
senators are calling for the six controversial CEP members to step aside to
facilitate the formation of a new Provisional Council and resolution of the
human rights organizations agree. Antonal Mortimé, Secretary General of the
Platform of Haitian Human Rights Organizations (POHDH), called for the repeal
of the Aug. 15 decree illegally appointing six members to Martelly’s CEP and
the formation instead of a Provisional Electoral Council to organize overdue
elections for Senate seats and municipal governments. Most political parties,
both on the left and the right, favor the formation of a Provisional Electoral
Council, including the Organization of Struggling People (OPL) and the Lavalas
the bitter and widespread outcry, President Martelly and his
illegally-appointed Supreme Court head, Anel Alexis Joseph, continue to thumb
their nose at Haiti’s Constitution and Parliament. Rather than compromise, they
appear to seek provocation. In an Oct. 9, 2012 decree, President Martelly
summoned the Parliament to a special session on Oct. 11 at 2:00 p.m. (just when
the President knew his nemesis, Sen. Moïse Jean-Charles, would be in New York,
speaking to UN officials). Martelly’s proposed legislative agenda was to ask
Parliament to name three representatives to serve on the CEP.
Sen. Jean William Jeanty, one of the nine senators strongly opposed to
Martelly’s arrogant and reactionary tactics, denounced the move. “It is
inconceivable” that Martelly would try to summon the Parliament in an
extraordinary session to appoint representatives to the CEP, Jeanty said. “The
controversies in Parliament surrounding the issue of the so-called permanent
CEP have not yet been resolved.” Jeanty questioned whether President
Martelly genuinely wants to hold elections in Haiti.
two different postures toward the crisis have emerged among diplomats based in
Haiti. Brazil, for example, refuses to interfere in Haiti’s internal affairs,
while France continues to meddle with arrogance and impertinence.
do not express opinions about Haiti’s internal affairs, but we do talk to
leaders to encourage them to show flexibility in order not to paralyze the
country,” said Brazilian Ambassador, Luiz Machado Costa to the Haiti Press
Network (HPN), an online news agency. The
diplomat, who arrived in Haiti more than six months ago, remains very cautious.
“It is not our style of diplomacy to comment publicly on the internal
affairs of a country,” he said, “because we would not want a
foreigner landing in Brazil to tell us what to do.”
Costa wants a climate of peace and compromise between political forces.
“Stability is needed to move the economy and create jobs,” he said,
also calling for the strengthening of political parties in Haiti and civil
society’s involvement to prevent crisis situations.
contrast, Didier Le Bret, France’s Ambassador to Haiti, called the CSPJ’s
appointment of three more CEP members “an important step” towards resolving the
pre-election crisis. The French
ambassador said that he was confident that this impasse would soon be resolved.
As proof, he said that just a few months ago, people were wondering how Haiti
was going to get out of the crisis of President Martelly’s alleged dual
nationality or the occupation by former Haitian soldiers of some Haitian
government buildings.  “Well
then,” he said, “all these crises have been resolved.”
Deputy Levaillant Louis-Jeune disagreed with the ambassador about those crises
and the current one. “The crisis is only getting worse,” he said. He called on
President Martelly to annul the order appointing a Permanent Electoral Council
of six members and to start from scratch.
recent anti-Martelly demonstrations, protesters have carried flyers calling on
Le Bret, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Pamela White, to be expelled as
“persona non grata” for their meddling in Haitian internal affairs.
Demonstrators also claim that Ambassador Le Bret openly wears a pink bracelet,
a sign of support for President Martelly who is increasingly denounced and
rejected by the Haitian people.
Supreme Court and CSPJ head Anel Alexis Joseph, seen here shaking hands
with Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, was illegally appointed and is now
illegally appointing would-be members of a highly contested Permanent Electoral

Sen. Jean William Jeanty: “The controversies in Parliament
surrounding the issue of the so-called permanent CEP have not yet been

French Ambassador to Haiti Didier Le Bret opined that the CSPJ’s naming
of new CEP members was legal and “an important step.”