Article 134-2 by Amendment of 2012
L’élection présidentielle a lieu le dernier dimanche d’octobre de la cinquième année du mandat présidentiel.
Le président élu entre en fonction le 7 février suivant la date de son élection. Au cas où le scrutin ne peut avoir lieu avant le 7 février, le président élu entre en fonction immédiatement après la validation du scrutin et son mandat est censé avoir commencé le 7 février de l’année de l’élection.
The presidential election takes place on the last Sunday of October of the fifth year of the presidential mandate.
The president elected enters into his functions on 7 February following the date of his election. In the case where the ballot cannot take place before 7 February, the president elected enters into his functions immediately after the validation of the ballot and his mandate is considered to have commenced on 7 February of the year of the election.
The constitution-amenders wrote in 2011, after Haiti had had consistently late elections for more than a decade. They tackled the lateness by requiring that the president-elect start immediately after the certification of the election without waiting for a fixed inauguration date. This bold move by the amenders disturbed the symmetry of the constitution, but sought to use it to address chronic lateness by minimizing the delay. This immediate start is the substance of the amendment. Thus starting on an odd date, however, creates some scheduling cleanup to do. They can’t just let the president go five years from the odd starting date because then he or she would not end on February 7. And they can’t let her govern for a while and then start the five-year clock ticking at her inauguration, because that would take her over five years. So they make the term run five years from the previous February.
If there is no odd start, there is no scheduling to accommodate it. The amendment is inapplicable.
And in reality, Jovenel Moise did not enter into office immediately after the certification on January 3, 2017, because the then-acting president Jocelerme Privert clung to office for another month. Article 134-2 was ignored. With the substance of the amendment going out the window, its scheduling corollary goes with it.