Jovenel Moise’s Killing: President Was Trying to Change Haiti’s Constitution

Advertisement

Continue reading the main story

The president was engaged in a sweeping effort to overhaul the country’s Constitution.

Haitians took to the streets of Port-au-Prince in March to protest the new Constitution promoted by Jovenal Moise.Credit…Jean Marc Herve Abelard/EPA, via Shutterstock

July 7, 2021, 7:22 a.m. ET

Despite public unrest and fragile political support, in the months before President Jovenal Moise was killed he was pursing an aggressive agenda that included rewriting the country’s Constitution.

Among the provisions he was pushing for was one that would grant Haiti’s leader immunity for any actions while in office, leading critics to charge that he presented a threat to democracy and was setting the country on a course toward authoritarian rule.

“We need a system that works,” Mr. Moise said in a telephone interview with The New York Times in March. “The system now doesn’t work. The president cannot work to deliver.”

The United States, whose support is critical for Haiti, had called on the country to hold presidential and legislative elections as soon as technically feasible. It also opposed the effort to draft a new constitution along the lines Mr. Moise proposed.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken outlined the Biden administration’s tougher stance during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in June.

Even though many were critical of Mr. Moise’s approach to reshape the government, many Haitians say a new Constitution is needed.

The current one has created two competing power centers in the country — the president and prime minister — which often leads to friction and a fractured government.

The draft Constitution would have abolished the Senate, leaving in place a single legislative body elected every five years, and replace the post of prime minister with a vice president who answers to the president, in a bid to streamline government.

Leave a Reply