Originally: Haiti’s new government will take office 7 February without fail – premier
Prime Minister Latortue at Haiti Democracy Project seminar, June 2004
(Announcer) Prime Minister Gerard Latortue has reiterated the government’s willingness to hand over power to an elected government on February 7, 2006. In an interview with Radio France International, Prime Minister Latortue discussed the issue of the dual citizenship of some candidates, as well as the security of the electoral process. Prime Minister Latortue spoke as follows at the microphone of RFI:
(Latortue) The voter registration process has ended everywhere in the country but there are two exceptions. We are still registering people in Cite Soleil because we started too late. And the registration process is still going on in some remote rural areas, because access to these places was very difficult, especially with the rainy season, which has made communication with these areas extremely difficult.
(Correspondent) Would you say that the February 7 date will also be postponed?
(Latortue) Among all the given dates, the only date that is inescapable is February 7. And I stress this. The transfer of power will take place on February 7. Actually, more than a month ago, I invited all of the political parties and all of the presidential candidates to my office. I told them that the doors to all of the ministries are open so that they can come and carry out an inventory and become informed about all of the sectors so as to facilitate the transition and the transfer of power to an elected government. In other words, we are not actually waiting for a president to be elected before starting the transitional process. We have started it already. All of the candidates are invited to come.
Non-Haitian citizens cannot run for election
(Correspondent) It seems that there is an issue which has not been dealt with, and it concerns the nationality of the candidates. What can you say about that?
(Latortue) The constitution has already decided on this. The constitution clearly states that in order for somebody to be a candidate for president or for the parliament, this person must be a Haitian citizen. In Article 13, the constitution says that once somebody becomes a citizen of a foreign country, he automatically loses his Haitian citizenship. So any Haitian who goes to a country, such as France, the United States, Canada and so on, and becomes naturalized, this person loses his Haitian citizenship and is not entitled to be a candidate. And any citizen has the authority to contest the election of someone who was proved not to be a Haitian citizen. And this person will be dismissed or deposed.
Security established in all areas except Cité Soleil
(Correspondent) Do you think that the security conditions needed to hold elections will be met throughout the country on election day?
(Latortue) I do not know what tomorrow will bring. But today security has been established in all areas apart from Cité Soleil. We are awaiting the deployment of a Jordanian battalion there in the coming days. This battalion will surround the whole neighborhood of Cité Soleil. Security will be guaranteed. Cooperation between MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti) and the National Police is of such good quality now that there is no doubt that security will be assured.
(Correspondent) You are on your way to Brussels. The European Union has released 72 million Euros to support the democratic transition effort in Haiti. Would you not say that this aid has arrived too late now, since it is only a few weeks before the elections?
(Latortue) Absolutely not. Haiti will always need the financial support of its partners. Actually, the current government is not seeking aid for itself. We are looking for aid for the country and the future government. This is actually something new in the political history of Haiti. It is not common to see an outgoing government laying the groundwork for an incoming government. This is the legacy that the transitional government wants to leave for the nation. We want to make it clear that the nation is a continuous creation, that a government will go and the country will remain. And each government that comes to power should add a stone to the construction of a nice and prosperous Haiti with more dignity for its people.