WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged Haitian President Michel Martelly to hold parliamentary and local elections scheduled for the end of this month in a “timely fashion.”
The elections have been delayed for three years amid a slow recovery from the 2010 earthquake that devastated the deeply impoverished nation.
Martelly said in June the first round of elections for 20 senators and 112 deputies would be held on October 26, while a municipal vote is to take place two days later.
In a telephone conversation with the Haitian leader, Kerry “commended President Martelly’s efforts to build consensus around electoral legislation that will allow elections to occur in a timely fashion,” according to a statement.
Kerry also “stressed the need for all Haitians to come together in good faith to support elections,” and urged Martelly to continue to work with other political parties and civil society.
The delayed elections have sparked anti-government demonstrations in the Caribbean nation, with protesters calling for Martelly to step down.
The opposition has also called for a new election commission less biased toward the president.
Four years after the massive earthquake, Haiti is still struggling to recover from the widespread devastation that killed 250,000 people and left one million people homeless.
Kerry said holding elections was a crucial part of the recovery, and urged Haiti to strengthen its democracy.