PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Thursday, January 28, 2016, a few hours after the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS) agreed to his request to send a mission to observe his mandate-ending talks, President Michel Martelly appeared in public to announce he hadn’t the intention of leaving the presidency without an elected president to replace him.
The declaration of Martelly, made at the inauguration of the new Jeremie Wharf, was received as a declaration of war by an overwhelming number of sectors and citizens in Haiti who have since responded with reproach.
Michel Martelly said “I am not going to handover power to a bunch of people who were against the elections.” Martelly said an elected should be replaced by an elected. He also invoked Article 136 of the Constitution of Haiti regarding the President of the Republic’s duty to ensure the proper functioning of the State’s institutions.
Among the reproaches to Martelly’s declaration were recollections of his position during the end of mandates for roughly 5,000 elected officials across Haiti during his term. As the president made elections impossible and mandates of local officials and law makers ended, President Martelly ignored the same calls of these statespersons to stay; a method, according to National Palace sources, to grow his authoritarian power.
It was the first time the Haitian Head of State had appeared in public in 6 days, since when the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) of Pierre Louis Opont cancelled the decried January 24, 2016 presidential runoffs. Since, Martelly and the de facto Prime Minister, Evans Paul, had been absent at many events they were scheduled to appear at.
Present at Wharf Jeremie in Cite Soleil for Martelly’s declarations were members of the “Core Group”, a clique of diplomats in Haiti that include the ambassadors and representatives of the United States, United Nations, Canada, France, Brazil, European Union and OAS.