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Haiti to hold presidential, other elections in November

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
An honor guard is seen around the casket of slain President Jovenel Moise at his funeral in Cap-Haitien, Haiti, on July 23, 2021. (File photo by AFP)

Haiti will hold a presidential election on November 7, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise last month, which threw the country into political chaos.

Haiti’s provisional electoral council said legislative elections, delayed since 2019, and a constitutional referendum that had been twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic would also be held on the same day. The referendum had been previously scheduled for September.

According to the new electoral calendar, the second round of the presidential and legislative elections will be held on January 23, 2022, when municipal and local elections delayed for years will also be held.

Prime Minister Ariel Henry had said earlier that the mission of his government was “to prepare the conditions to hold the elections as quickly as possible.” He had said that there had been dialog with the civil society and political leaders to reach a consensus on that matter.

The elections will be held at a time when that the country has no working parliament and only a handful of elected senators.

Moise’s assassination, which took place at his home in the early morning hours of July 7 by a hit squad with ties to the United States, opened up a political vacuum just as he and other civil leaders were preparing for elections and discussing revisions to Haiti’s constitution.

Meanwhile, Haitian authorities are still investigating the murky motives for Moise’s murder. Police in Haiti have arrested more than 20 individuals accused of direct involvement in the assassination, including at least 13 former Colombian military officers, five Haitians, and three American citizens.

A nation of 11 million, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas, with four million people living in hunger, widespread gang violence, and armed groups controlling broad areas of the country, including many neighborhoods in Haiti’s capital. The country has long been heavily influenced by foreign powers, particularly the US and France, which are widely believed to have installed former dictators or pushed through presidential nominees in national elections.

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