Published On: Tue, Sep 16th, 2014

Haiti’s leader urges vote for continuity at next election

lamothe_martellyPORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haiti's President Michel Martelly over the weekend urged constituents to vote for people who will continue to implement programs his administration has initiated, as the Caribbean country prepares to hold crucial legislative and local elections before the year-end and a presidential ballot next year.

Criticizing opposition lawmakers who have refused, for apparent political reasons, to pass a series of important legislation, Martelly called on voters to elect, during the upcoming elections, people who will continue his social and development programs and projects, now benefiting the population.

"I am asking you, if you like what we are doing, the thing is not to applaud, you need to vote for the right people so that such programs may continue since there will always be people who will oppose them," said Martelly, sitting next to Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, during a community meeting on the Haitian Island of La Gonave, on Saturday.

"There are people who want chaos because that's when they will be able to steal, there are people who want unrest because they live in corruption," said Martelly, blasting opposition legislators he accused of trying to block his presidential agenda.

Martelly, a former music star-turned president, who remains popular in Haiti despite the hardships facing many Haitians, suggested earlier this year he would support Lamothe, as the next presidential candidate, during elections due for the end of 2015.

Martelly presented Lamothe as a guarantee for the continuation of ongoing social, economic and development projects. But the two men rarely refer to the issue publically. Martelly argued that "for the time being Lamothe is prime minister, not a candidate, and he is focused on his work as prime minister."

"And I am proud of him," Martelly said recently.

Martelly is constitutionally barred from seeking two consecutive five-year terms. He is allowed to make a comeback only in the 2020 presidential election.

Martelly and Lamothe were on La Gonave island over the weekend to preside over a town hall-like community meeting organized by the government in different districts around the country where cabinet members and local groups and members of the population exchange on issues, develop greater proximity and bring solutions to problems, within the limits of resources available.

The meeting in La Gonave on Saturday was the tenth of its kind organized throughout the country and the series will continue.

The country is preparing to hold a ballot to renew two thirds of the 30-member senate, the entire lower chamber and hundreds of local government entities, but the process has been put on hold by a group of recalcitrant opposition senators who have been blocking the approval of needed legislation to facilitate the holding of the election.

"When they don't want to pass the laws which could help improve the situation of the Haitian people, they don't block Michel Martelly, they block the country," Martelly explained.

"They block the youth, they block the children that we are sending to school, they block the underprivileged mothers and fathers," he added.

The Haitian leader plans to meet, in the coming days, with opposition senators, political parties and other sectors in Haiti to discuss ways to put an end to the political impasse that has caused the electoral process, among other things, to stall.

By Joseph Guyler C. Delva

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