haiti february 7
Fritz Alphonse Jean (left), who was named provisional president by the Montana Accord Jan. 30, and interim Prime Minister Ariel Henry (right) have both claimed their right to lead Haiti and organize new elections.

NEW YORK — For a second straight year, the Haitian polity and diaspora are ever watchful as February 7 approaches with the country’s top leader again facing challenges to his legitimacy and calls to step down. This year, leaders of a civil society coalition have taken a more active role, nominating their own roster for a transitional government. 

“February 7th is a very symbolic date for us, because that’s the birth of democracy with the expulsion of Duvalier,” said Francois Pierre-Louis, a Queens College political science professor. “It became symbolic in the sense that every president took the oath of office on February 7th.” 

Haiti’s judicial and political institutions have grown weaker since the July assassination of Moise. For many Haitians accustomed to seeing violence during Haiti’s moments of transition, the main concern is finding trustworthy leadership for their country going forward. 

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Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America corps member. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.