Haiti Leadership Crisis and New President

Published: Wed 31 Aug 2011 03:14 PM
30 Aug 2011
Haiti’s Chronic Crisis of Leadership
Amidst a painstakingly difficult recovery from the January 2010 earthquake, Haiti still struggles to forge a definitive path toward true economic stability and an acceptable standard of living for its citizens. Much attention has been devoted to Haiti’s underlying structural difficulties; specifically, analysts harp on the notion that Haiti is a “failed state” and lacks strong political institutions. At this moment, however, it is worth identifying the ways in which Haiti’s problems are attributable to individual people—namely, Haitian politicians.
Haiti’s New President: Struggling ‘Sweet Micky’
Seven months after its November 2010 presidential election, Haiti still lacks a complete administration. Following a messy and drawn-out campaign that included accusations of election fraud and international intervention on the part of the OAS and Western nations, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly finally emerged as Haiti’s next president. Martelly took office on May 14, 2011, and his few months in office have thus far revealed little about the shape his presidency might take. Still, his inability to implement meaningful policy up to now can be attributed to his failure to choose an acceptable candidate for prime minister, his second-in-command. Martelly attempted to put together a new government quickly: two days before he took office, he nominated neoliberal businessman Daniel Gérard Rouzier as prime minister. But after a month of wrangling in Parliament, Rouzier was rejected by the legislature on June 21, 2011. Just a couple of weeks later, Martelly found an alternative, former Minister of Justice Bernard Gousse. Gousse’s confirmation was even more unlikely; he too was rejected by the legislature on August 2, 2011. Thus, it may be months before Haiti assembles a basic government.
This analysis was prepared by COHA Research Associate Elizabeth Rust.
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