President Privert between a rock and a hard place as deputies reject PM

Enex Jean-Charles, Martelly, Preval.JPG

Rumored possible PM nominee Enex Jean-Charles standing between former Presidents Michel Martelly and René Préval.

By Yves Pierre-Louis, Haiti Liberté, March 23, 2016

CHIP editor's note: Today, March 23, 2016 Le Nouvellist reported that Enex Jean Charles has been elected Prime-Minister of Haiti. 

Parliament’s lower house rejected the general policy statement of proposed Prime Minister Fritz Alphonse Jean on Sun., Mar. 20, 2016, clearly showing how the mostly fraudulently elected deputies are ready, at any price and without any scruples or embarrassment, to hold the Haitian people in a state of political limbo and concomitant economic misery.

Seventy-five deputies took part in the session which had been postponed from Thu., Mar. 17. After Mr. Jean presented his policy statement in accordance with the Haitian Constitution’s Article 158, the deputies were invited to speak. There was no real debate, however, because the deputies allied to former President Michel Martelly had already decided to publicly humiliate the designated Prime Minister.

Members of the Group of Parliamentarians Listening to the People (GPEP) and the Group of Independent Parliamentarians (GPI) went the podium to express concerns or make demands, but those of the Martellist Parliamentary Alliance for Haiti (APH) maintained a cynical silence. In the end, 38 MPs voted for the Prime Minister, 36 voted against, and one abstained. The Constitution requires an absolute majority in each House – that is 60 deputies and 16 senators – for the Prime Minister’s policy statement to be approved. Failing that, the process begins again.

However, the “process” is not at all clear, in large part due to a questionable amendment which parliamentarians of the previous legislature made to the 1987 Constitution. Some say it means interim President Jocelerme Privert must return to square one and nominate a new Prime Minister. Others believe that Mr. Jean has simply to reformulate his policy statement and appear again before Parliament for a vote of confidence. Nothing is really clear about how to proceed.

But in reality, it is not Mr. Jean’s policy statement that truly interests the fraudulently elected Martellist MPs. They are after the deals and bribes that accompany so many parliamentary votes. Martellist Sen. Edwin “Edo” Zenny has not minced words to make it clear that he will be selling his vote to approve the Prime Minister for US$1 million. 

According to some reports, President Privert has already begun consultations for a new Prime Minister nominee. Names rumored by some news sources and social media include university president Enex Jean-Charles, Struggling People’s Organization (OPL) leader Edgard Leblanc Fils, former presidential candidate Mirlande Manigat, and Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) economist Ericq Pierre.

Clearly, Mr. Privert finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He is caught in the contradictions between the Constitution and the Feb. 5 agreement which brought him to power, between Martellist politicians and those loyal to former President René Préval, and between the “Core Group” of U.S.-allied ambassadors, headed by UN occupation chief Sandra Honoré, and the Haitian people, who have historically refused to bow to those who oppress them.

We have learned that on Mon., Mar. 21, Ms. Honoré went to the National Palace to apply additional pressure on President Privert. The U.S. and UN wanted a third-round election on Apr. 24. But the Haitian people are preparing to resume their street mobilizations to press their demands for an independent truth commission to investigate what really happened during the fraud and violence-marred elections of Aug. 9 and Oct. 25, 2015. The overwhelming consensus in the streets, and even in the “political class,” is that the 2015 elections must be annulled and reheld. This is not the position of Washington, Ms. Honoré, and the largely fraudulently elected Martellist Parliament.

Privert has repeatedly said that he will carry out an audit of the 2015 elections and also of the Martelly government’s corruption-ravaged finances, but he still has no government. The acting government of former Prime Minister Evans Paul is made up of the very ministers and officials Privert will be investigating.

So, Haiti is in the grips of a deep political imbroglio. Many now say the Feb. 5 agreement no longer holds, and it is time to negotiate another agreement with the participation of Haitian popular organizations, not one dictated by Washington and the Martellist sector.

Unfortunately, Mr. Privert and Mr. Jean, both accountants, have only made technocratic proposals, while the solution to Haiti’s dilemma lies in embracing the masses’ revolutionary demands for justice, transparency, democracy, and the rollback of Martelly decrees. If the interim leadership continues to forget or downplay that they owe their rise to an historic mass mobilization in January, they will soon find themselves ousted from power by the Parliament’s Martellist jackals, who are anxious to get their hands back on the levers of power and complete the 2015 electoral charade.

Posted March 23, 2016