PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (sentinel.ht) – Despite signals of the contrary, Michel Martelly ended his term as President of the Republic on Sunday, February 7, 2016. He left power before the highly impugned 50th Legislature in a National Assembly ceremony attended by the U.S. and U.N. “Core Group” ambassadors and journalists.
The elections of 2015 which were ripped by violence and evidence of massive electoral fraud. It left Haiti with no successor to the presidency. So rather then inaugurating a new president on February 7 of the 5th year of the current Head of State’s term, the bi-color sash worn by Michel Martelly was handed to the President of the Senate, Jocelerme Privert.
In his address to the assembly, the outgoing president thanked those who accompanied him during his five years in office. In his customarily hubristic, Martelly said “History will remember, despite the odds, the stone that I have placed to building a Haiti more beautiful.” History “will also recall my failures and I assume that I assume only, and among them my greatest regret, the deferred presidential elections,” he added, acknowledging the failure to accede his hand-picked successor due to the, termed, “electoral coup d’etat”.
Martelly did not miss the opportunity to attack his critics in his final address. He defended his wife, Sophia Saint Remy, and son, Olivier Martelly, who face criminal complaints ranging from assault, kidnapping, drug trafficking, to usurpation of title, embezzlement, fraud.
The evening was an emotional one. Martelly danced and sung with the National Palace security guards. He was met with praise from his sympathizers which bid him farewell. The calm of an accord for moving forward in the absence of a Head of State had undertones grumbling within.
The 50th Legislature, which was brought by the same 2015 elections at the center of the national crisis would be the symbol of the Martelly legacy. Early on criticisms for providing Michel Martelly an “honorable exit” and taking charge of State matters despite its unlawful and illegitimate existence, would prove a new political challenge after the departure.