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Chamber of Deputies
President of the Senate
President of the
Chamber of Deputies
President of the Republic of Haiti
|Legislative Palace, Port-au-Prince|
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The Haitian Parliament (French: Parlement Haïtien, Haitian Creole: Palman Ayisyen) is the bicameral legislature of the Republic of Haiti, consisting of the upper house as the Senate (Sénat) and the lower house as the Chamber of Deputies (Chambre des Députés).[A88] Both assemblies conduct legislative sessions at the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.[A103]
The National Assembly was preceded by the Council of State, a legislative council appointed by the head of state, mostly from among generals. The Council of State was first formed by Jean-Jacques Dessalines under his 1804 imperial constitution. Following his 1806 assassination, his northern general and the new Chief of the Provisional Government Henri Christophe called a Constituent Assembly to meet in Port-au-Prince in November. However, a power struggle ensued between supporters of Christophe and his fellow general Alexandre Petion: Christophe had sought to ensure a majority of parishes from his power base in the Northern and Artibonite departments in the Assembly, but Petion authorized the election of deputies from parishes in the Western and Southern departments, counteracting Christophe. This resulted in a constitution which was more favorable to Petion's demands for a republican form of government. Under Petion's guidance, the constitution was approved, and the Assembly elected Christophe president and elected a powerful unicameral 24-member Senate. Christophe and Petion came to violent blows, with Christophe eventually retreating to Cap Francais (now Cap-Haitien) and forming an "Assembly of the mandatories of the people" which elected him President and adopted his own constitution in February 1807. The Senate, meanwhile, met in Port-au-Prince, and formally replaced Christophe with then-Senator Petion as president. This resulted in two separately-governed countries.
Petion eventually tired of the 1806 constitution's limitations on his power, and he eventually drafted a major revision to the constitution in 1816, which established a bicameral parliament, consisting of the House of Representatives of the Communes and the Senate, as well as a separate judicial branch headed by the Tribunal of Cassation. The new parliament also elected Petion president for life, and allowed him to govern more or less by decree. This era, which continued under Petion's successor Jean-Pierre Boyer, ended in 1843, when Boyer resigned and went into exile. A new provisional government assembled a Constituent Assembly, which drafted a new constitution and restored much of parliament's former power to the Parliament against the new president Charles Rivière-Hérard. But under his successor, Philippe Guerrier, the Parliament was temporarily replaced by a smaller appointed Council of State which held legislative power for the next two years until it was turned into a Senate in 1846 under Jean-Baptiste Riché.
Under the 1964 and 1971 Duvalier constitutions, the body became a unicameral Legislature with the abolition of the Senate. The Senate was subsequently restored in 1988.
The Senate consists of thirty seats, with three members from each of the ten administrative departments. Prior to the creation of the department of Nippes in 2003, there were twenty-seven seats. Senators are elected by popular vote to six-year terms, with one-third elected every two years. After the elections of 2000, twenty-six of the then twenty-seven seats were held by Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party. The Senate was not in session following the overthrow of Aristide's government in February 2004. An interim government was put in place following the rebellion, and the remaining Senators were not recognised during that time. The Senate was re-established and elections were held on 21 April 2006. In the Senate elections of 2009 LESPWA won five seats, and five parties won one seat each (OPL, AAA, FUSION, KONBA, UCADDE), as well as an independent.
Chamber of Deputies
The Chamber of Deputies has ninety-nine members (previously eighty-three) who are elected by popular vote to four-year terms. Candidates from Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas party took seventy-three of the then eighty-three seats in the 2000 elections. Following the coup d'état and the overthrow of the government in February 2004, the Chamber of Deputies remained empty. It was re-established along with the Senate, and elections were held on 21 April 2006. The next Chamber elections are scheduled for 2010.
Meetings of the National Assembly are presided over by the President of the Senate, with the President of the Chamber of Deputies assisting. The Secretaries of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies also serve as Secretaries of the National Assembly.[A99] The National Assembly building was destroyed during the earthquake on 12 January 2010.
The Legislative Palace (French: Palais Législatif) was among the many structures which were virtually destroyed by the earthquake on January 12, 2010. Parliament resumed sitting shortly after the earthquake in a temporary classroom.
On 27 December 2012 the first stone of the new Legislative Palace was laid. The main building, horizontal, of 4 levels, will include 3 large sitting rooms for the 2 Chambers and the National Assembly, the Library of Parliament, the press rooms and several meeting rooms for the Parliamentary Committees and will have a parking for 94 vehicles. The second building, a tower of 9 levels, is going to be equipped with 4 main elevators, a freight elevator and emergency staircase, and will host the individual offices of senators and deputies, including their secretariats, waiting rooms, meeting rooms, space for clerks, toilets, kitchens and a parking of several levels with a capacity of 240 vehicles.
^ [A___] citations are Article numbers of the 1987 Constitution of the Republic of Haiti. A government-issued but unofficial (and error-prone) English translation is available at http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6b542c.html and http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987.html and the French original is available at http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Haiti/haiti1987fr.html
- (in French) Parlement Haïtien - Chambres des Deputés, Page d'Accueil Archived 2010-01-31 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 31 January 2010)
- (in French) Parlement Haitien - Senat, Page d'Accueil Archived 2009-07-09 at the Wayback Machine (accessed 31 January 2010)
- "Haiti's leaders face 'hell of a job.'" Toronto Star, 23 January 2010.
- Haiti - Reconstruction : Inauguration of the new Parliament building in Haiti
- "Haiti - Reconstruction : "The most beautiful Parliament of the Caribbean" (dixit Laurent Lamothe)". Haiti Libre. 28 December 2012. Retrieved 8 February 2016.
This remainder of this section includes a list of general references, but it remains largely unverified because it lacks sufficient corresponding inline citations. (August 2010) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
- "Haiti". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2006-11-14. Retrieved 2006-11-17.
- Schutt-Ainé, Patricia (1994). Haiti: A Basic Reference Book. Miami, Florida: Librairie Au Service de la Culture. p. 167. ISBN 0-9638599-0-0.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook website https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/.
- Official website (in French)