“A Little Light on Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti, and the 1987 Haitian Constitution: Article 134.1 and Article 134.2”

“A Little Light on Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti, and the 1987 Haitian Constitution: Article 134.1 and Article 134.2”

The Haitian President is elected for five years according to Articles 134.1 and 134.2 of the 1987 Haitian Constitution.

President Jovenel Moïse came to power on February 7, 2017 through the November 2016 election. His presidential term will end on February 7, 2022. That is five years. According to the 1987 Constitution, his constitutional mandate does not end on Sunday, February 7, 2021, as his critics have stated.

Currently, under the Moïse administration, the Haitian people experience daily gang kidnapping, gang violence, political corruption and instability, mass killing and death, societal incoherence and disunity, hunger, poverty, frustrations, etc. Yet these things are not new in the Haitian society. While some have argued that life has gotten worst under this current administration, thus demanding Moïse’s resignation before his term ends on February 7, 2022.

You may not agree with Moise’s policies, political actions, or governance; yet, constitutionally, he has one more year left in power and before he bids goodbye to the Haitian people. Consequently, the new president of Haiti will be elected constitutionally in this year’s presidential election in November 2021.

Historically, in the first round of the 2015 (25 October 2015), Moïse did not receive enough popular votes to be elected as President of Haiti. (This election was a mess, and its results were fraudulent according to critics.) Whenever that happens, the Haitian Constitution makes provision for a second round. Hence, in the 2016 election (27 November), Haitian election officials (the Conseil Electoral Provisoire) declared that Jovenel Moïse has won the presidential election.

Consequently, his presidential term began on 7 February 2017. In other words, Moïse’s term did not begin on 7 February 2016 because he did not win in the first round of the November 2015 election. By contrast, since he was declared the winner of the November 2016 election, his presidential term officially began on 7 February 7, 2017–as mandated by the Haitian Constitution.

Below, I reproduce both Articles 134.1 and 134. 2 as constitutional reference:

“ARTICLE 134-1:
The term of the President is five (5) years. This term begins and ends on the February 7 following the date of the elections.

Article 134.1:
La durée du mandat présidentiel est de cinq (5) ans. Cette période commence et se terminera le 7 février suivant la date des élections.

ARTICLE 134-2:
Presidential election shall take place the last Sunday of November in the fifth year of the President’s term.”

Article 134.2:
Les élections présidentielles ont lieu le dernier dimanche de novembre de la cinquième année du mandat présidentiel.
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 scrutinne 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.”

***Also, the language of Articles 134.1 and 134.2 in the amended 1987 Constitution is the same as the original 1987 version cited above.

“Article 134-1
The term of the President is five (5) years. This term begins and ends on the February 7 following the date of the elections.

Article 134-2
[Amended by the Constitutional Law of 9 May 2011 / 19 June 2012]
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 “

Source: “Haiti’s Constitution of 1987 with Amendments through
2012″

https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Haiti_2012.pdf?lang=en

***Warning: my brief analysis is not based on political affiliation or partisanship with the Moïse administration, and this post is not a defense of Moïse administration or presidency.

I am not a constitutional scholar nor am I an expert on Haitian laws. My analysis is based on the exegetical reading and literary analysis of both articles in view here. I’m open to be corrected.

Moreover, Article 134.2 does not declare that the president begins his or her term on the “same” day or the “same” year of the election. (The word “same” is not used in Articles 134.1 and/or 134.2. Rather, it states that the presidential term begins and ends on February 7. The phrase “following the election” is pertinent to the day and year the President begins his or her term on February 7.

For example, if I am elected as the President of Haiti in the November 21, 2021 election, my term does not begin on 21 November 2021 because November is not February and 21 is not 7. Rather, my presidential term will begin on 7 February 2022. My presidential term will end on 7 February 2027. That is 5 years, as mandated by the 1987 Haitian Constitution.

Article 134.1:
“La durée du mandat présidentiel est de cinq (5) ans. Cette période commence et se terminera le 7 février suivant la date des élections.”

Article 134.2:
“Le président élu entre en fonction le 7 février suivant la date de son élection. Au cas où le scrutinne 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 Haitian Electoral Committee “validated” or “certified” the winner (Jovenel Moïse) of the election in November 2016, not October 2015.

The President couldn’t have started his presidential term on 7 February 2016 because (1) the official certification of the election occurred in November 2016, and (2) constitutionally speaking, the Haitian Electoral Committee couldn’t certify an election before it actually occurred. In other words, Jovenel Moïse couldn’t begin his presidential term on 7 February 2016 since the official certification was declared in November 2016. Constitutionally and as the language of both Articles argues, the mandated term of the president begins on 7 February and it lasts for 5 years. In the case of President Jovenel Moïse, his constitutional began on 7 February 2017, and will end on 7 February 2022, as mandated both by the original 1987 Constitution and the amended 1987 Constitution.

Or maybe Articles 134.1 & 134.2 need to be amended again for greater clarity and precision, as we are dealing with two phenomena that contradict each other: the electoral cycle & the constitutional cycle pertaining to the beginning and end of the presidential term. This is an issue of legal technicality and clarity.


Jovenel Moïse, President of Haiti

Presidential term: February 7, 2017 – February 7, 2022 (5 years)

1987 Haitian Constitution in English: https://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987.html

1987 Haitian Constitution in French : https://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b5490.html

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