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Haiti: Finally has an elections commission, but controversy over constitution role brews

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, who has finally appointed a new nine-member Provisional Electoral Council to organize Haiti’s next elections, is being accused of going too far in the use of his executive powers and violating the country’s constitution.

Moïse made the appointments to the council, known as the CEP, by presidential decree. The members, relative unknowns, and the sectors of Haitian society that they represent, were published late Friday in the government’s newspaper. According to the decree, the new CEP is not only tasked with organizing municipal, legislative and presidential elections, but must also prepare a constitutional referendum.

That added mandate, say Haiti legal scholars, political party leaders and human rights observers, is not only “illegal and unconstitutional,” but reminiscent of a darker period in the country’s history and risks deepening a worsening political crisis already marred by armed gangs, violent protests and growing poverty.

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