Haiti’s PM vows elections ‘as soon as possible’

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Haiti’s PM vows elections ‘as soon as possible’

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry pledged Friday to organise elections as soon as possible despite the devastation of last week’s earthquake, in a nation still reeling from its president’s assassination.

Henry acknowledged that the international community views with concern the Caribbean country’s “chronic” political instability, including the killing of president Jovenel Moise in July.

“I am committed to doing everything in my power to put my country back on the rails of a functioning democracy with the organization as soon as possible of free and transparent elections,” he told the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).

Last week, before a 7.2-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti and killed nearly 2,200 people, the provisional electoral authorities had said that the first round of the presidential elections, initially scheduled for September, would be held on November 7.

Delayed legislative elections and a constitutional referendum that Moise supported, postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic, are set for the same day.

Moise, who was gunned down in his home, had been ruling by decree after the 2018 legislative elections were postponed, and disputes arose over whether his term should end in February 2021 or 2022.

His slaying shook a country already battling poverty, spiralling gang violence and COVID-19.