Latin America & Caribbean

Political uncertainty in Haiti as parliament is dissolved

Haitian President Michel Martelly at a ceremony to mark 5 years since earthquake 5 Jan 2015
Image caption President Martelly has the backing of foreign donors and the UN

Parliament in Haiti has been dissolved after the failure of last-ditch negotiations over a new electoral law.

President Michel Martelly had been trying to secure backing for a US-sanctioned plan to postpone elections again.

He now effectively rules the country by decree but his term of office runs out next year.

Haitian opposition groups say they will continue months of street protests to try to force his resignation.

The political deadlock is centred on a dispute over a new electoral law, which opposition lawmakers have refused to approve.

On Sunday, President Martelly said he had reached a last-minute deal with the opposition to hold the elections.

But key left-wing opposition party Fanmi Lavalas, which has been at the forefront of anti-government protests, was not part of the deal.

"Martelly will not be able to hold onto power. He is not going to be able to remain. We're not going to stop until he leaves," said Andre Michel, a lawyer and opposition figure.

Foreign support

Mid-term Senate elections had been originally due in May 2012, while local polls are three years behind schedule.

Now Haitian opposition activists say they will continue the protests to try to force Mr Martelly's resignation.

They have accused him of corruption and abuse of power and say he wanted to derail the election deal to rule by decree.

President Martelly has disputed this.

Foreign donors and the UN have offered the president their support.

A statement said the group, comprising the UN, and ambassadors of the US, EU and Canada, was "gravely concerned that Haiti's parliament has dissolved with no resolution for holding long-delayed legislative elections".

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