OAS urges Haiti to hold overdue elections

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WASHINGTON, USA — The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Wednesday adopted a declaration calling on the three branches of government of Haiti to comply with the agreement knows as El Rancho and to call legislative and municipal elections by the end of 2014.

The chair of the Permanent Council and representative of Saint Lucia, Ambassador Sonia Johnny, said the declaration on Haiti supports “the efforts of a member state to be able to hold elections in accordance with the terms of its constitution and with other agreements."

Introducing the resolution, the permanent representative of Haiti, Edmond Bocchit, recalled the support given by the Council to the El Rancho Accord which provided for the holding of elections on October 26 and which he described as "a step in the right direction."

"Unfortunately this agreement is now facing great difficulties; you supported us, encouraged all actors to respect their commitments, and today I come to seek the solidarity of the OAS and its member states regarding a situation facing our nation, because we know that the well-being of Haiti’s democracy must be a priority for the region," said Bocchit.

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OAS Secretary General, José Miguel Insulza

The secretary general of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, explained the scope and impact of the situation in Haiti and said that if the elections are held as scheduled in the agreement, “on the first of January if there are no elections Haiti will be left without a Senate, therefore we’ll be left without a constitutional institution.”

He said that the OAS “is prepared to support the democratic process in Haiti, especially the elections, in accordance to the Constitution and the laws of the country,” and assured the Council that the OAS will continue to accompany the political process through high level visits, the presence of an office in Haiti, and the work of the Group of Friends of Haiti in Washington DC.

Insulza added, “The international community, including the OAS, can only assist in this process of democratic consolidation and then only upon the request of the legitimately elected government of Haiti. From this perspective we hope that all stakeholders in the political process continue to work together to create the best circumstances for stability and growth and security.”

He insisted that the Organization “hopes that the dialogue that started at the beginning of the year will continue and that all those who are not part of this process should be encouraged to take part,” as this is the best channel to voice all their concerns and needs.

The adopted resolution states that all parties fully honour “their political commitments as well as the legal and constitutional obligations to facilitate the speedy organization of elections necessary for the renewal of the mandates of legislative and municipal authorities"; and urges all state powers "to continue the dialogue in order to fulfill, as a matter of urgency, their obligations under the constitution and the El Rancho Accord for the purpose of ensuring the holding of elections in 2014."

On this, Insulza noted that Article 3 to the El Rancho clearly speaks of the constitution, "and this is a wider approach that takes us in the direction of Article 156 of the constitution which relates to the responsibility of the president regarding governance and the functioning of the democratic institutions.”

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