No new date was announced for voting in the last turn of the Caribbean nation’s political crisis, as President Jovenel Moise continues to rule by decree.
Haiti has postponed a constitutional referendum scheduled for June 27 due to the coronavirus pandemic without giving a new date for the vote, further deepening the country’s political crisis.
President Jovenel Moise has been ruling Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, by decree after the 2018 legislative elections were delayed after disputes over the limits of his term.
In addition to the September presidential, legislative and local elections, Moise had wanted to submit to a popular vote a new draft of the island nation’s constitution on June 27th.
Last month he said he would go ahead despite international criticism that the process is not sufficiently “inclusive, participatory or transparent” in a country plagued by political insecurity and criminal gangs.
But an official statement was issued Monday the decision to postpone he was motivated by the “difficulties” the electoral council had to face in trying to “gather and train all temporary staff to conduct the survey” in the face of the pandemic.
A new date was set “following the recommendations of the health authorities and the technical advice of the executives of the electoral institution,” he said.
On May 24, Haiti declared a state of health emergency due to the increase in COVID-19 cases.
But the organization of the vote had already seemed complicated due to the country’s growing insecurity situation.
Over the weekend, clashes between two gangs in a densely populated poor district of Port-au-Prince forced hundreds of residents to flee their homes, taking refuge in nearby churches and gyms.
Moise, who faces anger and calls for his resignation amid the government’s failure to curb criminal violence, is his sixth prime minister in four years.
In April, the country’s prime minister, Joseph Jouthe, resigned as the country struggled with political chaos.
In addition to the political crisis, rescue kidnappings have increased in recent months, further reflecting the growing influence of armed gangs in the Caribbean nation.
It also faces chronic poverty and recurring natural disasters.