VOA, By Sandra Lemaire, Renan Toussaint, July 03, 2020 07:26 AM
WASHINGTON/PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haitian President Jovenel Moise’s new penal code, which legalizes abortion and lowers the legal age for consensual sex to 15, has drawn the ire of lawmakers. Former Senator Jean Renel Senatus said the presidential decree goes against Haitian family values.
“Unfortunately, President Jovenel Moise has chosen to put forth a law that is much more liberal than the one we (senators) worked on,” he told VOA Creole.
Moise has been ruling by presidential decree since January 2020 because the parliament is out of session. The terms of two-thirds of the Chamber of Deputies and Senate expired months before the pandemic hit. Before the session ended, lawmakers had worked on a new penal code. The presidential decree, announced June 24, voids their work.
According to officials, parliamentary elections have not been held because of the insecurity caused by a series of anti-corruption protests that sometimes turned deadly, roiling the nation, crippling the economy and creating a climate of insecurity during most of 2019.
Presidential adviser Patrick Crispin announced on June 23 that legislative elections are planned for December 2020. In the meantime, there is no parliamentary check and balance on the president’s decrees.