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March 19th, 2010
08:29 PM ET

Haiti's next big crisis: how to hold elections

Debris litters the rubble of GOC University, a college known for its civil engineering and economics programs.

Debris litters the rubble of GOC University, a college known for its civil engineering and economics programs.

Kathie Klarreich
Time

The gold-trimmed letters marking Haiti's Legislative Palace still shine brightly on the front wall of the seaside building in Port-au-Prince. But the massive earthquake that hit the nation on Jan. 12, killing more than 200,000 people, left a hole on one side of the structure, exposing a black wrought-iron staircase.

The quake ripped open the building's opposite side, where detritus like metal, concrete, chairs, desks and paper scraps spewed forth like volcanic lava.

Haiti's parliamentarians now operate out of a trailer on the grounds of the old police academy — and their ranks are as much in disarray as the palace they used to use. Of the 30 Senators (three from each of the country's 10 departments, or regions), two died in the temblor; one seat was already unfilled before the quake; and 10 members finished their terms last November.

But the country wasn't prepared to hold a vote even then, and so their tenures were extended to May — after which only about half the chamber will be occupied.

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Filed under: Haiti Earthquake
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