Ecuadorian and Venezuelan FMs meet opposition as President Martelly’s term nears end with no successor

Representing CELAC (The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), the Ecuadorian and Venezuelan foreign ministers met with opposition parties on Tuesday (February 02) as the international community seeks to resolve political deadlock in the Caribbean nation after presidential elections were cancelled late last month amidst violence and accusations of fraud.

Government supporters took to the streets as Haiti’s opposition rejected a proposal by outgoing President Michel Martelly to form a temporary government to organise elections, after a run-off presidential vote.

Under a proposal drawn up by Martelly and parliamentary leaders, Prime Minister Evans Paul would resign and be replaced by a candidate to be approved by parliament, government-allied lawmaker Gary Bodeau said.

But run-off candidate Jude Celestin’s party and other opposition groups want an interim government to be organised by a Supreme Court judge.

Supporters of Martelly spoke out against an interim government on the streets of Port-au-Prince.

“Today thanks to President Martelly we have many things that former presidents have not been able to do in 20, 30 years. Martelly did them in five years. If you want power in the country don’t ask for a transitionary government. You need to work hard to get votes,” said this unidentified Martelly supporter.

Ecuador and Venezuela’s foreign ministers are in Haiti as part of a CELAC delegation to find common ground. They travelled to the country’s parliament building to meet with Senate President Joselerme Privet.

He told media after the meeting that discussions had involved Martelly leaving power on February 7.

“What the president has always said is that he will leave power on February 7, 2016. All mechanisms which exist allow for the president’s exit so the country does not fall to crisis, destabilise politics. This is all the discussion that we have had, that the president leaves, that the country does not fall into chaos, so that the president leaves and that the country remains in peace, that the world has confidence in elections and a new president.” said Privet.

The visit from the foreign ministers follows a decision by the OAS to send a special mission to the Caribbean nation to oversee a transition of power and a request by Haiti for CELAC to send a delegation to gather information on the electoral situation.

The United States, which spent some $33 million on the election, fears an interim government might linger for years, leaving Haiti without a democratically elected president, a situation that the country has suffered in the past. (Reuters)