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Wednesday, 7 May 2014 | MYT 12:35 PM

Haiti's president appoints new electoral council

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haiti's President Michel Martelly on Tuesday appointed a nine-member council tasked with organising municipal and legislative elections this year that were supposed to be held more than two years ago.

In a speech broadcast on Haitian TV, Martelly named the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which is made up of three members each chosen by the judiciary, parliament and the presidency.

As one of his choices Martelly appointed attorney Fritz Canton, currently defending former dictator Jean-Claude 'Baby Doc' Duvalier against charges of public corruption and crimes against humanity.

Martelly blamed the delay in forming the council on the Senate, which strongly opposes his policies, and listed a number of concessions he had made after lengthy discussions with political parties and members of parliament.

The Senate, however, must still approve an electoral law before the CEP starts its work. The vote would be the first since Martelly was elected in 2011.

The formation of the CEP comes days after the United Nations and the so-called Friends of Haiti group of countries warned that failure to hold elections in 2014 could lead to the dissolution of parliament in January 2015 and potentially undermine the Haiti's democratic system.

The elections would fill two-thirds of the 30-member Senate, all 99 seats in the lower chamber and 140 mayoral posts.

(Editing by David Adams and Miral Fahmy)


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