4 MILLION-STRONG HAITIAN DIASPORA FINALLY ALLOWED TO VOTE
(Montreal Gazette) - AFP
Haitian lawmakers have voted to do away with a law banning dual nationality, in a move allowing members of Haiti's vast diaspora to vote for the first time.
While the measure approved Monday recognizes dual or multiple nationalities, members of the Haitian diaspora will not be able to campaign for elected office or to serve in government posts without first giving up foreign nationalities.
Edwin Paraison, Haiti's minister of Haitians living abroad, said the new measure had a mixed impact, pointing out that a law approved in 2002 had allowed Haitians with another nationality to serve in ministerial posts.
"Despite the restrictions, however, a positive step has been taken," said Paraison in welcoming the fact that the Haitian global diaspora - estimated at 4 million people - can now vote.
The decision could also make headway in mending often tense ties between the diaspora, which has long contributed significant funds to the poorest nation in the Americas but without having a voice in national political life, and the homeland, where people often consider the diaspora as arrogant.