In Haiti, Robert Manuel, the now former prime minister-designate, has had his nomination rejected by the lower House. The House appointment’s committee had recommended that M. Manuel be rejected because he was constitutionally “ineligible”. The House accepted the committee’s recommendation by a vote of 57-22. Representatives from President Préval’s Lespwa movement were instrumental in the rejection.
Article 157 (5) of the 1987 Haitian constitution states that the PM must have “resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years”. Alterpresse reports that the committee recommended M. Manuel’s rejection because for a period in the 1980s he fled the country following the outbreak of violence. He has since been back for more than five years. However, the clause seems to have been interpreted – fairly liberally – to mean that there was a time when he was not resident in Haiti for five consecutive years.
Given there is no Constitutional Court in Haiti, the interpretation of the constitution is left to political actors and their various interests.