Haiti’s political climate has been nothing short of troubled essentially since its independence. A result of a weak economy brought on by 17th-century colonial tactics and compounded by numerous natural disasters, Haiti is home to one of the most corrupt and turbulent governments in the world. It is this climate that gave rise to President Jovenel Moise, a man whose presidency was consistently marred with accusations of corruption and dictatorial tendencies. It is also this climate that led to Moise’s eventual assassination at the hands of still at-large gunmen on July 7, 2021. Tensions began to rise immediately afterward, with the line of political succession being called into question. Soon after, on August 12th, a large earthquake rocked Haiti, adding a humanitarian crisis to the already existing political crisis in Haiti.
The Interim Government
Ever since July 2021, an interim government headed by Prime Minister Ariel Henry has been running Haiti. This interim government has also faced massive scrutiny as it works to heal the nation. There have been accusations that Prime Minister Henry was supposedly involved in President Moise’s death, along with accusations of corruption. This interim government‒ and therefore the government officials’ terms‒ ended on February 7, 2022 as this was the day when President Jovenel’s term was supposed to end (he had vowed to step down on this day). While it has been relatively calm since then, it is evident tensions are rising again as various civil organizations call for different plans of action.
The Rise of Civil Society
Following the events of Summer 2021, gang violence began to completely take over many Haitian communities. With the nation’s government in such a weak place, citizens began to turn more and more towards civil society groups to do something about the chaos around them. One of the more prolific of these groups is known as “The Commission for the Search for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis.” The main goal of this group is to restore Haiti’s democracy. They are planning to do this by firstly calling for a two-year transition government, holding fair and safe elections in 2023, and by restoring public order by, in part, dealing with the gang crisis. The detailed plan they published for this is known as the Montana Accord.
What Comes Next for Haiti?
Prime Minister Henry along with the rest of this government have stated that they are planning and organizing elections and adopting a new constitution. However, people are naturally questioning the legitimacy and fairness of these elections. Additionally, many are saying that anything Prime Minister Henry and the rest of his government do is not valid anymore as all of their terms officially ended on the 7th. On the other hand, the Prime Minister’s supporters are saying that he and everyone else that he works with can only be legally be removed by Parliament, which is currently not running as the previous members’ terms expired without new elections being held.
Either way, the current Prime Minister’s plans are evidently at odds with the Montana group’s plans, which has already decided on who they want their interim President and Prime Minister to be. They have announced their choice of Jean Fritz to be the interim President and Steven Benoît to be the interim Prime Minister, along with several other people in a paired-back version of the current government.
On top of all of this, the United Nations has chimed in, stating that it would like to see an election in the island nation before the end of the year. As for what comes next? All bets are off with Haiti seeming to venture farther and farther into an era defined by instability.