Haiti's president denies dual citizenship

AP News
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Posted: Mar 08, 2012 8:09 PM
Haiti's president denies dual citizenship

President Michel Martelly displayed his Haitian passport on national television Thursday to try to quell rumors that he gave up his citizenship and is not eligible to hold office.

The Haitian constitution does not recognize dual nationality for senior government officials, and politicians have been disqualified from office in the past for having acquired the citizenship of other countries.

Critics of Martelly, a former globe-trotting musician, charged that he had renounced his Haitian citizenship prior to taking office last May. Several opposition senators went so far as to open an inquiry into the question of his passport.

Martelly had already denied that he held the citizenship of another country but angered opponents by refusing to show his Haitian passport.

But on Thursday, Martelly showed reporters eight stamped passports that he's held over the years as U.S. ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten and other diplomats looked on.

Merten said Martelly used to have a green card and now has visa, and there are no records of him being an American citizen.

Schools let out early and some businesses closed early before the late afternoon news conference amid reports of anti-government unrest. But Associated Press reporters saw no evidence of unrest. The traffic was heavy as people made their way home but the streets appeared calm otherwise.