Article 284-3

General elections to amend the Constitution by referendum are strictly forbidden.

Although the language of Article 284-3 refers to amendments, its logic applies to new constitutions as well. The Framers wrote Article 284-3 to spare Haiti from further constitutions “par un homme, pour un homme” so common in Haitian history. President Moïse could personally profit from the new constitution’s allowance of consecutive terms. This worry could be addressed by a transitory provision applying to the current president alone. The current constitution also assigns the legislature the power to amend. President Moïse’s plan to hold a referendum on a new constitution with the legislature gone is worrisome.

Arguing that the government is paralyzed, his version would augment presidential power, trim the legislature, and allow consecutive presidential terms. There is merit to this argument. Haiti expert Georges Fauriol weighs the pros and cons in a recent Chatham House article.

Moïse has previously said he would leave power on February 7, 2022, as required by the current constitution. Whether that would hold true under the new constitution is totally up in the air.