Martelly cancels elections, appoints mayors

My translator Pierre Louise reports that Monsieur Benjamin Permission, who I interviewed in July, is no longer mayor of Ansapit. But neither is Albert, the man Peter and his father Merite and many other Ansapit residents were planning to vote for as their next local leader. As anticipated in reports earlier this year, president Martelly has replaced mayors throughout the country whose terms were set to expire. In Ansapit, Permission was replaced with a Martelly-appointed majistra, a woman, a first.

The office of mayor is an elected position in Haiti — or should be. Locals perceive that a good mayor — “a good responsible,” as Peter called it — can do more to improve their situation than the president. They credited the mayor of Pedernales for the Dominicans’ stronger position in the market, and blamed Permission for Ansapit’s weaker one.

President Martelly’s move to cancel elections and install the local government of his choice has been called unconstitutional by Haitian news source Defend. Elections that were to be held in Nov. 2011 have still not occurred.

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