Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Haitian Senate Approves 3-Month Extension of Presidential Term

By Zhang Mingyu

SANTO DOMINGO, (Xinhua) -- The Haitian Senate on Monday approved a measure that allows President Rene Preval to stay in office for three months after his presidency ends on Feb. 7, 2011, according to local reports.

The measure, which passed last week in the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, won approval from the 29-member Senate on a 14-2 vote with two abstentions.

This year's general election in Haiti, which had been scheduled for November, has been postponed because of the magnitude 7.0 earthquake that devastated the Caribbean country on Jan. 12, killing a government-estimated 230,000 to 300,000 people.

The act enables Preval to stay in office until May 14, 2011, if Haiti fails to hold a general election by the end of this year. The measure also extends the terms of the country's senators by three months.

Mainwhile, about 2,000 protesters gathered around the ruins of the presidential palace to show dissatisfaction with the government's response to the earthquake and to demand that Preval resign.

Critics have alleged that Preval was using the destruction as a pretext to stay in office beyond his term.

Clashes occurred when demonstrators in the largest political protest since the earthquake tried to break through police blockades and were deterred with volleys of tear gas.

Source: XinhuaNet

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