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Haiti-Politics: Rotating presidency or turmoil presidency?

  • May 14, 2024
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By Gotson Pierre

P-au-P., 14 from 2024 [AlterPresse] — It was the suspense surrounding the dispute that had blocked the Presidential Transitional Council (Cpt) since April 30, in the process of choosing transition leaders. The publication, on the evening of May 10, of a resolution consecrating “the rotating presidency of 4 and the qualified majority of 5/7 for major decisions”, guarantees a smooth journey, without disruption, during the next 20 months ?

This provision continued to provoke mixed reactions in public opinion: some were outraged, criticizing a resolution which would be motivated by particular interests without concern for the community. Concerns about the fragmentation of time – from presidents (coordinators) to mandates of an average of 5 months -, the “waste of time” in a transition which will require double work, given the scale of the task to be accomplished.

Others said they were relieved, firstly that the situation had been resolved, so that the Cpt could finalize the structures of the transition and pay attention to essential issues, including security. The May 7 resolution would help strengthen cohesion within this body composed of representatives of political actors from all sides. This text was perhaps necessary to clearly indicate that all Councilors are eligible for president.

All things considered, the image of Haitian politicians coming together to resolve a conflict is, without a doubt, very positive. It leaves the impression of surpassing oneself. Very rare behavior on the political scene.

However, if, as several Councilors claim, the president is only a coordinator and has no more prerogatives than his other colleagues, why be president at all costs?

Not all stakeholders are convinced of the merits of the resolution. The January 30 Collective gathering, from which Edgard Leblanc came, questions it, despite the signature of the current president of the Cpt at the bottom of the document.

Moreover, the Leblanc case itself turns out to be interesting. Having previously been supposedly in favor of the rotating presidency, he would have changed his mind before deciding in the last hours to join it.

Likewise, we saw Councilor Fritz Jean refuse at the last minute to take up the presidency, leaving his turn to Smith Augustin, who expressed his intention at the last moment.

And then, there is the case of Councilor Frinel Joseph, the only one not to initial the resolution. Simple absence? A disagreement cannot be ruled out, according to information gleaned from his sector.

What made the reluctant people decide one way or the other? The main thing for some would be to launch the transition machine by putting in place its various institutional structures, which will only be a matter of making it work? For others, what will being “president” actually mean?

A bitter taste however, the one left by the reopening of an agreement barely signed, like shoes that are too narrow. Lack of consistency, important in political positioning as in diplomacy? Doesn’t this kind of resolution risk becoming a mode of accommodation?

Furthermore, would the rotating presidency be an absolute guarantee against the capture of the State by interest groups and mafia sectors, as Haiti has seriously experienced for many years, leaving a bloodless economy, a procession death and destruction?

As a colleague insisted, the most important thing is the success of the transition. It is not desirable for the blur of April 30 to return to darken the landscape of the Cpt. Haiti has no room for error. The issues are crucial: security and an end to impunity, economic and humanitarian recovery, re-institutionalization and stability. [gp apr 14/05/2024 00 :30]