The electoral authorities of Haiti announced this Monday the postponement of the constitutional referendum scheduled for next June 27 due to the rebound in cases of covid-19 in the country.
The new date of the referendum will be decided based on the recommendations of the health authorities, as announced by the Provisional Electoral Council in a statement. “This decision is motivated by the difficulties in gathering and training all temporary personnel to carry out the vote. “, the statement explains.
Haiti, little affected by covid-19 last year, has been going through the most serious wave of coronavirus infections to date since last May , which has caused an increase in deaths and hospitalizations, in a country with an infrastructure very poor hospital.
The holding of the referendum is widely questioned by the international community, given that it does not have the support of the opposition or sectors of civil society , such as the Church, business or trade unions.
The president of Haiti, Jovenel Moise, thus intended to promote the adoption of a new constitution, considering that the 1987 Constitution is the source of the political instability that Haiti has experienced in recent decades.
The UN, the Organization of American States (OAS), the European Union and countries like the United States have criticized the consultation process around the new Constitution for not being inclusive enough . The opposition has not joined the consultation process on the draft Constitution, which has been drawn up by a group of experts, as it does not recognize Moise’s legitimacy and demands that the ruler step away from power.
The referendum itself is controversial because the current Constitution expressly prohibits holding a consultation with a view to changing the fundamental law.
The new Constitution project seeks to give more powers to the president, provides for a unicameral legislature -which implies the elimination of the Senate- and also stipulates that the elections be decided in a single round.
Moise wanted to approve the Constitution before holding the presidential and legislative elections, which are scheduled for September 19. The Provisional Electoral Council has not referred to the electoral appointment, despite the fact that last Friday it announced that it was going to study the possible postponement of both the referendum and the elections.