The general election in Haiti, which had been set for Nov. 7, has been postponed after Prime Minister Ariel Henry dissolved the electoral committee, which many in the nation believed was excessively political.
Henry stated that he would appoint a new electoral council (CEP) that would be non-partisan and set a fresh election date.
In an interview carried on CNN on Tuesday, Henry said the process to replace the council had begun and that elections will take place in the “early months of the following year” after a constitutional review.
“We have made the decision today to halt this electoral council and form another one, one that will be more consensual and one that will be accepted by all of society,” he added.
The dismissal of the nine-member council, which was widely expected and confirmed by a decree in the official gazette on Monday, was met with approval by some lawmakers who had expressed doubts over its legitimacy.
“We will ensure the next CEP is credible and legitimate,” said opposition politician Andre Michel on Twitter.
Moise appointed the electoral council last year to replace one that did not want to go through with his proposed referendum on a new constitution.
The impoverished Caribbean nation of 11 million has been mired in a political crisis for years and failed to hold legislative elections in late 2019, leading President Jovenel Moise to begin ruling by decree.
Moise was killed in July, throwing Haiti into a constitutional crisis with no elected president or parliament.
Moise selected Henry, a political centrist and respected neurosurgeon, just two days before his killing, in an attempt to defuse political tensions.
Despite power conflicts and even accusations of probable involvement in Moise’s death, Henry has been able to gain widespread support for his leadership. He categorically denies any participation.
Haiti, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, has struggled to grow due to decades of political unrest, which has been exacerbated by natural calamities such as last month’s earthquake.
A new constitution, according to Moise, would assist provide better stability by enhancing the president’s position and lowering the frequency of elections, among other changes.
Some of his detractors agreed that a constitutional overhaul was needed, but they criticized his manner as political and some of the amendments as potentially leading Haiti back to tyranny.