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Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus

Governing Haiti: Time for National Consensus

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Published by Laurette M. Backer
Latin America and Caribbean Report N°46 | 4 February 2013
THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP
Latin America and Caribbean Report N°46 | 4 February 2013
THE INTERNATIONAL CRISIS GROUP

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Published by: Laurette M. Backer on Feb 04, 2013
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Governing Haiti:Time for NationalConsensus
Latin America and Caribbean Report N°46
| 4 February 2013
International Crisis Group
Headquarters
 Avenue Louise 1491050 Brussels, BelgiumTel: +32 2 502 90 38Fax: +32 2 502 50 38brussels@crisisgroup.org
 
Table of Contents
Executive Summary ................................................................................................................... iRecommendations..................................................................................................................... iiiI.
 
Introduction ..................................................................................................................... 1
 
II.
 
Unfinished Business ......................................................................................................... 2
 
III.
 
The Doctor, the Priest and the Musician .......................................................................... 5
 
IV.
 
International Contributions ............................................................................................. 12
 
 A.
 
Regional Experiences ................................................................................................. 12
 
B.
 
Donor Help ................................................................................................................ 13
 
 V.
 
Inside a National Accord .................................................................................................. 16
 
 A.
 
Key elements .............................................................................................................. 16
 
1.
 
Short-term goals ................................................................................................... 17
 
2.
 
The longer-term agenda ....................................................................................... 19
 
B.
 
Reaching Agreement .................................................................................................. 23
 
C.
 
Implementing the Accord .......................................................................................... 24
 
D.
 
The International Role ............................................................................................... 25
 
 VI.
 
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 28
 
 APPENDICES A.
 
Map of Haiti ...................................................................................................................... 29B.
 
 About the International Crisis Group .............................................................................. 30C.
 
Crisis Group Reports and Briefings on Latin America and the Caribbean since 2010 ... 31D.
 
Crisis Group Board of Trustees ........................................................................................ 32
 
International Crisis Group
Latin America and Caribbean Report N°46 4 February 2013
 Executive Summary
Haiti is in a race against time to convince its own people, donors and potential inves-tors that progress and stability are achievable. Continued delay in holding free andfair elections may well pose the greatest immediate challenge, but President MichelMartelly, already struggling to govern the broken and divided nation for one and ahalf years, lacks the stable political base (also denied to his predecessors) to obtain buy-in to his proposed Five-E development strategy: employment,
état de droit 
(ruleof law), education, environment and energy. To finally start the long-promisedtransformation, he should build on the tenuous Christmas Eve 2012 agreement for acredible electoral body to hold much delayed Senate, municipal and local pollsquickly. He also should bring key actors into a national dialogue on selecting theConstitutional Council and resolving credibility questions about the appointment of the president of the Supreme Court and the Superior Judicial Council, as well as onpursuing other critical short- and longer-term public policies.Ending the elections imbroglio is essential but insufficient. Follow-on reforms arerequired to avoid political paralysis during Martelly’s term. The long and difficultpath to the recently concluded constitutional amendment process and still inconclu-sive debate over formation of the Permanent Electoral Council (CEP) are testamentto the deficit of confidence and absence of political consensus. Haiti needs a nationalaccord to manage reconstruction and development, particularly as it enters a diffi-cult electoral period, whose calendar is still unknown. Many sectors espouse nationaldialogue rhetorically but do not pursue it seriously. The intensifying debate aroundorganisation of Senate, municipal and local elections in 2013, however, may offer anopportunity to pursue a governance accord that could finally mobilise domestic forc-es and better secure donor support for the transformation that has been touted eversince the 2010 earthquake. After several failed efforts to reach domestic agreementon basic issues, even strong donor supporters are becoming frustrated by the lack of leadership, governance and accountability.Decades of government inaction, growing frustration and decreasing citizen tol-erance leave little margin for error. The Haitian brand of politics in effect virtually excludes the majority of citizens, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for any administration to govern effectively. The electoral calendar laid down in the consti-tution is never respected, so the terms of elected officials expire without replace-ment, giving rise to institutional instability. Elections are largely a contest betweenpolitical and economic elites, as a myriad of parties give voice to few, fail to mobilisethe electorate and fragment parliament. Voter participation has been falling since2006, along with public confidence.Zero-sum politics is not the answer to the country’s fragile security and stability.Rather, consensus is required on priorities and the strategy for achieving them. It isincreasingly evident that functional governance is unlikely until and unless the busi-ness community, religious, professional and political leaderships can reach an ac-cord. Otherwise Haiti faces increasing internal unrest. The Latin American regionoffers useful experience about how to build sustainable, effective agreements thatcan progressively be translated into concrete and sustainable policies. The National“Concertación por la Democracia” in Chile, the Agreement for Justice and Security inGuatemala, the “Acuerdo Nacional” in Peru and, most recently, the “Pact for Mexico”are examples of how to identify shared priorities and extract commitments from po-

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Laurette M. Backer added this note
Haiti is in a race against time to convince its own people, donors and potential inves-tors that progress and stability are achievable. Continued delay in holding free andfair elections may well pose the greatest immediate challenge, but President MichelMartelly, already struggling to govern the broken and divided nation for one and ahalf years, lacks the stable political base (also denied to his

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