Friday, May 21, 2010

Canada Pushes Haiti President to Hold Elections by Year's End

Canada is pushing Haitian President René Préval to hold elections as soon as possible.

Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says he wants a clear indication from Préval that he is willing to hold presidential elections by the end of the year.

"We're looking for a commitment from the government," Cannon said Friday after addressing a conference in Montreal on Haiti's reconstruction.

"The international community wants to see a commitment, a solid, serious commitment to have an election by the end of this year."

Haiti's constitution stipulates presidential elections should be held Nov. 28 and that Préval's term should end in February.

But Préval announced earlier this month that he plans to stay in power up to three months past the end of his term if the election is delayed.

"There are a number of things that need to be done [in order to hold elections]," Cannon said.

"But of course the international community wants to see this election take place."

Haiti has been in a state of emergency since it was rocked by a devastating earthquake in January that killed more than 200,000 people and crippled its governing infrastructure.

Opposition parties have grown restless in recent weeks, hosting demonstrations criticizing Préval's response to the crisis.

They fear he may use the situation to extend his term.

"The sooner we have political stability the sooner we're going to be able to get economic stability and growth in that country," Cannon said.

Source: CBC

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