Haiti. On January 3, Haiti’s Provisional Authority finally announced the final result of the November 20, 2016 presidential election, which confirmed victory for Jovenel Moïse of the PHTK (Haitian Tèt Kale Party) with 56% over its closest opponent, Jude Célestin of LAPEH (Alternative League for Progress and Release). Thus, PHTK retained the presidential post and a two-year, drawn-out and complicated constitutional process could be completed. The electoral authority also published the results of the congressional elections held simultaneously. They showed that PHTK also became the largest party in Congress, but without gaining its own majority. In March, Congress approved, for the relief of the world community, President Moïse’s proposal for Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, a procedure that in the past has caused political lockdowns.
According to Countryaah.com, the new government’s first draft budget was met by violent protests. In September, thousands of people protested in the capital Port-au-Prince, killing two people in clashes with police. The dissatisfaction was mainly due to the budget’s increases in certain public service fees and adjustments to congressmen’s financial compensation and benefits, including salary increases of 74%. President Moïse’s promised raise of the minimum wage came in July but was significantly below inflation and trade union demands, and was met by protests. The rebuilding after Hurricane Matthew, which struck in October 2016, also put extra pressure on the state budget. Estimates in March indicated that 54,000 tonnes of food and seeds were destroyed by the hurricane and that 70% of the population depended on emergency aid.
In October, the mandate for the UN’s 13-year stabilization mission (MINUSTAH) was terminated, and was replaced by a smaller program to support the legal process (MINUJUSTH). The purpose of the new program is to strengthen the judiciary and police and to evaluate the development of human rights in the country. MINUSTAH’s outgoing chief Sandra Honoré praised Haiti for the progress made since 2004. At the same time, critics pointed out that both the cholera outbreak in 2010 and the sexual exploitation of UN personnel could be linked to MINUSTAH, as well as delayed UN responses in both cases.
After all, some bright spots could be seen in poor Haiti. For example, the murder rate dropped significantly during the second quarter of the year, as did the degree of violence in connection with public protest actions.