Haitian president says he wants to reform constitution

Haitian President Jovenel Moïse says he wants to use his new power to govern by executive order to reform the constitution and make the country easier to govern

HAVANA -- Haitian President Jovenel Moïse says he wants to use his new power to rule by executive order to reform the constitution and make his country easier to govern.

In a statement Friday, Moïse said he was negotiating with opposition leaders to form what he called “a unity government” that would propose a constitutional reform that would go to a national referendum this year.

Haiti's 1987 constitution is seen by many observers as excessively dividing power between the executive and legislature in a way that fuels the country's political instability and frequent deadlock.

Haiti has been roiled by street protests and economic stagnation for much of Moïse's nearly three years in office as opposition leaders demand his departure, saying he has mismanaged the economy and failed to take on corruption.

Opposition leader Andre Michel said he favored a constitutional reform but only after Moïse was pushed out of office.

“'We need a new constitution,” he said. “It will be put together by the transitional government, not Jovenel Moïse.”

Other opposition leaders did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

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Correspondent Evens Sanon in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, contributed to this report.