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Politics and Society

First black republic to declare independence in 1804

The Treaty of Ryswick in 1697, between France and Spain, led to France controlling the western third of Hispaniola which later became Haiti. The French colony was the jewel of the Caribbean due to its agricultural productivity and sugar industry at the time. By 1791, the slave population, providing the work force for the sugar industry, revolted under the leadership of Toussaint Louverture. After a prolonged struggle of 13 years, the first black republic declared its independence in 1804.

Haiti has struggled since independence to establish a stable political system. However, after the overthrown of Duvalier regime, a new constitution was enacted in 1987 which gave birth to the present political framework.

The Haiti constitution is modeled after the United States' constitution. It calls for three independent branches of government, yet also a semi-presidential republic. The President of Haiti is the head of state elected directly by popular elections for a five years term. The Prime Minister is appointed by the president and acts as the head of government. The President and Prime Minister delegate power to the departments without a constitutional need for consent.

Structure of Government:

Executive Branch:

Legislative Branch:

National Assembly: Bicameral National Assembly

  • Senate 30 seats
  • Congress 99 seats

Judicial Branch:

  • Supreme Court or Cour de Cassation
  • Court of Appeal
  • Civil Court
  • Justice of Peace

Future elections:

  • Presidential: 2015
  • Legislative: 2014

Society

Haiti is predominantly a Francophone independent State. It is an amalgamation of various cultures from French influence to its African root with a dash of Tainan Amerindians, the natives of "Hispaniola". Haitians are known for their hospitality and the creativity of their art.