By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- The special representative of the secretary- general of the United Nations in Haiti and diplomats from donor countries welcomed on Thursday the conclusion last week of an agreement that is likely to ease political tensions and facilitate the holding of crucial legislative and local elections in the Caribbean country by the end of the year.
The head of the UN stabilization mission in Haiti, Sandra Honoré, and other representatives of the international community welcomed the signing on March 14 of an agreement within the inter-Haitian dialogue which involved the executive and legislative branches and political parties, under the auspices of the Episcopal Conference of Haiti (CEH), led by Cardinal Chibly Langlois.
"These representatives of the international community in Haiti believe that this agreement is a first step towards a national consensus aimed at strengthening the democratic institutions and good governance and the creation of a framework more conducive to socio-economic development for Haitians," read a communiqué released on Thursday by the UN mission.
"These representatives encourage all Haitian political actors to take the necessary steps leading to the holding in 2014 of free, fair and inclusive," stated Sandra Honoré and diplomats from the so-called Core Group.
The "Core Group" includes diplomatic representatives from Brazil, Spain, the United States, France, the European Union, Canada, and the Special Representative of the Organization of American States.
The parties agreed that President Michel Martelly will open the government to opposition parties, that elections will take place by the end of the year (no later than October 26 for the first round) and that one third of the nine-member electoral council may be changed by relevant state institutions (The executive, parliament and the judiciary) which had designated them.
The parties concurred in entrusting Parliament with the task to amend, within the next ten working days, the current electoral law to allow the holding of a ballot to elect two thirds of the 30-member Senate assembly, contrary to the existing legislation which provides for the renewal of only one third.
The political actors also agreed on the need to bring new amendments to the current constitution and announced the creation of a commission, comprised of representatives of the executive and legislative branches as well as leaders of political parties and other observer groups, to reflect on the matter and other issues.