PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – Haiti’s president said Sunday he has forged a last-minute accord with leaders of four opposition parties after days of closed-door negotiations, possibly creating a viable path to ending a political standoff stalling long-delayed elections.
“Through this agreement, we are sure to achieve normalisation of the political situation in the country,” Martelly said at a Port-au-Prince hotel following talks with the chiefs of opposition factions, including the Unity party of former President Rene Preval.
Martelly and opposition lawmakers have been embroiled in a political showdown over legislative elections due since 2011, when he was
supposed to call a vote for a majority of Senate seats, the entire Chamber of Deputies and local offices.
After days of fruitless negotiations with lawmakers, Martelly on Sunday finally achieved consensus to try and end the impasse.
The electoral law must still be approved by lawmakers and an emergency session was scheduled for Monday after the senate failed to achieve quorum Sunday night.
The government feels it now has the support needed to win the vote.
Martelly, who took power in May 2011 and is due to leave next year, will rule by decree if political leaders don’t resolve Haiti’s crisis by authorising the law by Monday’s close.
Senate President Simon Desras told The Associated Press he was hopeful that the political gridlock could be resolved in the next 24 hours. He said he expected participation of at least three but possibly four members of a group of six senators who have used parliamentary procedure to prevent a vote authorising the elections. They accuse Martelly of trying to undermine the Constitution.