Haiti is a country located in the region of North America. Haiti seems to be in a constant crisis. A political vacuum that emerged in the fall of 2015 seemed to have its solution in early 2017, when President Jovenel Moïse was elected president. But large parts of the opposition claimed that cheating has occurred and criticism of Moïse has grown into a storm. In 2019 Parliament rejected the government and the elections that would have been held in the future.
The parliamentary election would have been held in October 2019, for the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate. But since the country lacked regular government since the beginning of the year (see below) there was no choice. Since January 2020, there has also been no working parliament.
- Countryaah: Country facts and history of Haiti, including state flag, location map, demographics, GDP data, currency code, and business statistics.
In March 2020, the president appointed the former environment minister and acting finance minister Joseph Jouthe as new prime minister. But since there is no functioning parliament, there is no body that would normally approve or reject the prime minister. The legitimacy of the new head of government is thus unclear.
At the same time, the situation in the country is serious. No state budget has been adopted, inflation is approaching 20 percent and the currency has been devalued. One-third of residents face food insecurity, which is the last step before famine, according to the United Nations Food Program WFP. At the beginning of 2020, the already difficult situation was exacerbated by a sudden kidnapping wave with demands for ransom, in addition to the usual gang violence that plagues not least the slums. In early March, the United States warned its citizens to visit Haiti at all because of the violence and, not least, the kidnappings.
Haiti has been shaken by recurring political crises in recent years (see Modern History). Already when Jovenel Moïse took office as president in February 2017, it was clear that there was a great risk that political instability would persist.
In the summer of 2018, the country was shaken by riots that resulted in the Prime Minister being replaced (see Calendar). In the autumn, criticism of the government grew after revelations about various development aid. The protests continued into the new year.
In February 2019, violence erupted that required at least seven people’s lives and in March, Parliament’s second chamber toppled the government in a vote of no confidence (see Calendar). Former Minister of Culture and Communication Jean-Michel Lapin was appointed to lead a transitional government. Attempts to get Lapin approved by Parliament failed and in July the mission went to Fritz-William Michel instead. But he was not approved either and Lapin continued as acting head of government. Parts of the opposition demanded President Moïse’s resignation.
Those demands grew in strength when a court accused the president of having a pivotal role in a scandal scandal (see Calendar).
Jovenel Moïse is a businessman and owner of banana plantations, with no previous political experience. In the 2016 presidential election, he was nominated as a candidate for PHTK (see Political system), a party founded in 2012 by then-President Michel Martelly. PHTK was also the largest party in Parliament and initially had a majority in both chambers together with a number of support parties.
From the outset, the challenges were many for the new government. The cholera epidemic that erupted after the 2010 earthquake continues to reap life (see Modern History). The outbreak has claimed around 10,000 Haitians’ lives and infected nearly one million. The infection came with UN soldiers and was due to their poor hygiene. The UN first acknowledged in 2016 that the World Organization has no responsibility for the outbreak at all, but has continued to refuse to take legal responsibility. Instead, the UN has appealed to the member states for contributions to a fund to combat cholera, without further success.
When the government presented the state budget for 2017/2018, opposition-led street protests erupted, which lasted until the budget came into force on October 1. The opposition and protesters felt that the budget would favor the middle class and hit hard on the country’s poor. The protests also applied to tax increases, such as tobacco.
In July 2018, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned when it became clear that he was threatened by a declaration of confidence in Parliament. This happened after Haiti was shaken by popular protests against the government’s proposal to cut fuel subsidies, which would mean that the price of gasoline, diesel and kerosene would rise sharply. At least four people were killed in the rattles and stores and other buildings were burned down. The government proposed the subsidies on the advice of the loan body IMF but withdrew the proposal when the protests became violent. Following the rallying, the IMF proposed a more gradual demolition of government fuel subsidies.
After a few weeks, President Moïse nominated Jean-Henry Céant as new Prime Minister. It was only two months after Lafontant’s departure that Céant could take office with a government that comprised two-thirds of new ministers. But after six months, Céant was thus put to a vote of no confidence in Parliament, in March 2019. Haiti has continued to be shaken by protests against the government and against fuel shortages, which have caused gasoline prices to rise (see Economic overview). The situation is aggravated by the fact that international donors withhold funds because of the political and economic deadlock.
Read more about the ongoing development in the Calendar.
FACTS – POLITICS
Republic of Dayti / Republic of Haiti / Republic of Haiti
republic, unitary state
Head of State
President Jovenel Moïse (2017–)
Head of government
acting Prime Minister Jospeh Jouthe (2020–)
Most important parties with mandates in the last election
PHTK 31, Vérité 17, OPL 9, KID 8, Fanmi Lavalas 8, AAA 6, Bouclier 5, Inite Patriyotics 4, Fuyzon 4, other incl. Not added 27 (2016) 1
Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections
Inite 35, Altenativ 11, Ansanm Nou Fò 10, AAA 8, Lavni 7, Rasanble 4, other incl. Not added 24 (2010) 2
21% in the November 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections
presidential election 2021 3
- refers to the Chamber of Deputies, the election began in 2015 and was completed in 2016
2. intends Deputies
third parliamentary elections were to be held in October 2019 but has been postponed indefinitely