Following the 1987 Constitution, Haiti is a republic
based on the principle of division of power between a
popularly elected national assembly, a popularly elected
president, a prime minister and a government and the courts.
In practice, most of Haiti's governance has been
characterized by authoritarian presidential rule and
constant military intervention most of the time before and
after 1987. Haiti's governance is one of the least stable in
the world. Haiti's highly unstable and violent governance
has, among other things, connection with François Duvalier's
repressive regime 1957–71 and son Jean-Claude Duvaliers continuation
of the regime until 1986 (when he fled). The regime relied
not least on the president's private security force, the
feared Tonton's Macoutes.
Formally, the president is elected in the general
election for five years and cannot be re-elected
immediately. The National Assembly includes a 99-member
Chamber of Deputies (expanded from 83 before the 2006
election), elected to the general election for four years,
and a Senate with 30 members, elected in the general
election for six years (one-third is up for election every
other year). The voting age is 18 years. The Prime Minister
shall be elected from the party which has a majority in the
Authoritarian governance has led to extensive sanctions
from other countries, which has further weakened a miserable
economy. The country's politics are primarily characterized
by the struggle for power.
Administratively, Haiti is divided into 10 ministries and
these again into district ministries and municipalities. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how HT can stand for Haiti.
The judiciary was originally characterized by French law,
but this feature was severely weakened under the Duvalier
regime. The courts have not been independent of the
political authorities. There are appeals courts and civil
courts in the capital and three of the provincial capitals.
There must be a magistrate's court in each municipality.
By the transition from military to civilian regime in
1994, the armed forces and the police force were
discontinued. From 1995 a national police force has been
built up. Since 2011, efforts have been made to build up a
military force, and the first recruits began training in
Ecuador in 2012.
From 2004 to 2017, there was a UN-controlled
multinational stabilization force (MINUSTAH) in the country.
The total strength of Haiti's armed forces is 150 active
personnel (2018, IISS). In addition, 50 personnel arrive in
a semi-military coastguard. The army is very easily
equipped. The Coast Guard has eight patrol vessels.