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Haiti - Government and Political Conditions (Notes)

2004-2007 - Interim Government Prepares the Way for a New Democracy
Following the constitutional line of succession, Supreme Court Chief Justice Boniface Alexandre assumed the presidency and Gerard Latortue was appointed prime minister of the Interim Government of Haiti (IGOH) with the mandate of organizing elections to choose a new government. Despite significant delays and controversies over who was Haitian enough to run for President, the interim government managed to organize three rounds of elections with the help of the OAS and UN. The first round of elections for President and Parliament took place peacefully on February 7, 2006. An impressive turnout estimated at over 60% of registered voters caused some logistical difficulties which were overcome. Overall, the elections were considered free, fair, transparent, and democratic by national and international observers.

René Préval, former President (1996-2001) and former ally to Aristide, won the presidential election with 51.15%. Partial results had shown he fell short of the majority and triggered demonstrations against alleged fraud. The later decision of the Electoral Council not to count blank ballots gave the victory to Préval. The Parliament, composed of a 30-seat Senate and a 99-member Chamber of Deputies, was elected in two rounds held on February 7 and April 21, 2006. Lespwa is the main political force in both chambers but fell short of the majority. Fusion, UNION, Alyans, OPL, and Famni Lavals have many representatives in both chambers. Préval chose his long-time political associate and former Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis to serve again as his Prime Minister. Municipal elections were held December 3, 2006 and April 29, 2007. Some of these local government positions had not been filled in over a decade.

International Presence 1995-2004
After the transition of the 21,000-strong MNF into a peacekeeping force on March 31, 1995, the presence of international military forces that helped restore constitutional government to power was gradually ended. Initially, the U.S.-led UN peacekeeping force numbered 6,000 troops, but that number was scaled back progressively over the next 4 years as a series of UN technical missions succeeded the peacekeeping force. By January 2000, all U.S. troops stationed in Haiti had departed. In March 2000, the UN peacekeeping mission transitioned into a peace-building mission, the International Civilian Support Mission in Haiti (MICAH). MICAH consisted of some 80 non-uniformed UN technical advisers providing advice and material assistance in policing, justice, and human rights to the Haitian Government. MICAH's mandate ended on February 7, 2001, coinciding with the end of the Preval administration. The OAS Special Mission has some 25 international police advisors who arrived in summer 2003; is in addition to observing and reporting Haitian police performance, they provide limited technical assistance.

International Presence 2004-Present
At the request of the interim government and the UN, the U.S.-led Multilateral Interim Force, made up of troops from the U.S., Canada, France, and Chile, arrived in Port-au-Prince to ensure stability until the arrival of a UN peacekeeping force.

In April 2004, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1542, which created the UN Stability Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Since that time, the Security Council has consistently and unanimously approved the renewal of MINUSTAH's mandate at 6-month intervals. On February 15, 2007, the UNSC unanimously voted to extend MINUSTAH's mandate for 8 months through October 15. The Stability Mission is currently authorized at 7,200 troops and 1,951 civilian police.

Principal MINUSTAH Officials
Special Representative of the Secretary General--Hedi Annabi (Tunisia) (as of September 2007)
Force Commander--Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz (Brazil)
Police Commissioner--Mamadou Mountaga Diallo (Guinea)

Principal Government Officials
President--Rene Preval (since May 14, 2006)
Prime Minister--Jacques-Edouard Alexis
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Jean Reynald Clerisme
Minister of Justice--Rene Magloire
Minister of Economy and Finances--Daniel Dorsainvil
Ambassador to the U.S.--Raymond Joseph
Ambassador to the OAS--Duly Brutus, Chargé d'Affaires
Ambassador to the UN--Leo Mérores, Chargé d'Affaires

The Embassy of Haiti is located at 2311 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-332-4090).

Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Current Time - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Historical Highlights - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.

Facts at a Glance
Current Time
Ranking Positions

Notes and Commentary
Government and Political Conditions
Historical Highlights
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.

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