Haiti | Freedom House

Freedom in the World

Freedom in the World 2017



Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Freedom in the World Scores

(1=Most Free, 7=Least Free)

Quick Facts

Press Freedom Status: 
Partly Free

Weak institutions and corruption hinder the capacities of the Haitian government, and international actors wield significant influence in the country. Haiti continues to recover from devastating hurricanes that damaged crops and infrastructure, displaced thousands, and inflicted widespread hardship.

Key Developments: 
  • Jovenel Moïse, the preferred candidate of former president Michel Martelly, won a November rerun of the previous year’s flawed presidential election. But because an electoral tribunal had not formally verified the vote by year’s end, interim president Jocelerme Privert remained in office.
  • In January, most members of the legislature were sworn in, despite serious questions about the legitimacy of the 2015 legislative polls.
  • Hurricane Matthew struck the country in October, killing some 500 people, displacing thousands, and inflicting widespread hardship.
Executive Summary: 

President Michel Martelly’s term ended in February 2016, but due to the postponement of the second round of the 2015 presidential election, there was no successor to assume office. The National Assembly (a joint session of parliament) subsequently elected the National Assembly president, Senator Jocelerme Privert, to serve as interim president, and he was sworn in with a mandate to restore confidence in the electoral process within 120 days. When Privert’s mandate expired in June, opposition parliamentarians refused to meet the quorum necessary to extend it or propose a replacement, leaving Privert in office. A rerun of the 2015 presidential election took place in November, with Moïse, Martelly’s handpicked successor, winning 55.6 percent of the vote, according to provisional results. The election, which saw voter turnout of only 21 percent, was considered an improvement compared to the 2015 polls but was nonetheless contested. Privert remained in office at year’s end, because an electoral tribunal tasked with assessing claims of fraud in the November poll had not yet issued a ruling.

Though the 2015 legislative elections were widely considered fraudulent, the majority of parliament took office in January 2016. Despite a constitutional guarantee of 30 percent female representation in public offices, only 3 women sit in the 118-seat Chamber of Deputies.

Hurricane Matthew caused significant damage in October, killing more than 500 people, displacing some 175,000, and inflicting widespread hardship. Matthew destroyed crops across the region, resulting in a sharp increase in food prices and pushing some 800,000 people into severe food insecurity, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

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