The Haitian political system has historically displayed
certain enduring features. The post-Duvalier transition,
example, was similar in some ways to previous crises of
According to the Duvaliers, Haiti was a republic,
power passed smoothly from father to son in 1971. In
however, the country resembled a monarchy. This "dynastic
republicanism" was merely a new variant of the traditional
Haitian system of competition among personalist factions.
dynastic republicanism began when François Duvalier simply
extended his term in office beyond its prescribed six
Duvalier was well aware, there was ample precedent in
history for this move. Duvalier's immediate predecessors
tried to extend their prescribed terms in office
(see Politics and the Military, 1934-57
, ch. 6). After extending his
Duvalier declared himself president. Nine of Duvalier's
predecessors had designated themselves chiefs-of-state for
Duvalier then established the hereditary presidency.
monarchs Henri (Henry) Christophe (1807-20) and Faustin
(1847-59) had attempted to establish hereditary succession
than a century earlier
Christophe's Kingdom and Pétion's Republic; and
Decades of Instability, 1843-1915
, ch. 6).
short, the primary goal of most Haitian leaders has been
maintain themselves in power for as long as possible.
Data as of December 1989