Elected in 2011, Mr. Martelly has spent much of his time in office feuding with lawmakers over holding new elections, effectively paralyzing the country’s politics until the terms of most members of parliament expired in January. Having barely bothered to conceal his contempt for the legislative branch, the president seems content with its absence — and with the collapse of any semblance of checks and balances.
The intransigence of Mr. Martelly’s political opponents contributed to the past few years’ paralysis, but at this point the burden of holding elections falls on him. Diplomats have pronounced themselves encouraged that he has ordered that a first round of legislative elections be held in August, with a second round (plus presidential and local balloting) in October. It is imperative that there be no slippage in that timetable if Haiti is to have any chance of restoring democratic governance.