Laurent Lamothe, Haiti’s former Prime Minister who was forced to resign prematurely in December 2014, has entered the presidential race. He joins dozens of others vying for the spot and his registration further complicates Haiti’s already-unstable elections process for a major reason: Haiti’s parliament has to grant a décharge for former government officials to run for president but parliament has been non-functional since January. The Provisional Electoral Council has already disqualified several legislative candidates due to lack of a décharge so many are watching to see if Lamothe will get the same treatment.
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Former Haiti PM Lamothe joins presidential race along with dozens of others
Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald
May 20, 2015
Haiti’s controversial former prime minister has joined a crowded arena of contenders in the race for the country’s next president.
Laurent Lamothe is among at least 35 people who dropped off documents at the elections office before the registration closed Wednesday night.
Those vying for the seat hail from across the country and vary from opposition politicians to academics to entrepreneurs.
Lamothe’s much-anticipated and to some extent, surprise move, came less than three hours before the midnight deadline and after a day of legal scrambling, U.S. congressional lobbying and personal soul searching.
“En route” Lamothe tweeted at about 8:30 p.m. while en route to the regional electoral offices on Route des Frères in Port-au-Prince. “The work has just begun.”
As the former head of President Michel Martelly’s government as well as minister of planning and foreign affairs. Lamothe is required to have a décharge to run for president under Haiti’s electoral law. The certificate is necessary to show he didn’t misused government funds. However, only parliament can grant a décharge, which is based on the findings of government auditors from the Superior Court of Auditors and Administrative Disputes (CSCCA).
Since January, Haiti has been without a functioning parliament, leaving Martelly to rule by decree. Martelly, however, promised the international community he would not use his emergency powers broadly and has until now refused to issue a decree allowing those without a décharge, including Lamothe, to enter the race.
Early in the process, the CSCCA announced that only parliament could grant décharges and the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) reenforced that position last week when it disqualified a number of former government officials from running in the scheduled Aug. 9 legislative elections even though they had favorable audits.
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