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Haitian president denies US citizenship shows passport to end nationality dispute


PORT-AU-PRINCE: President Michel Martelly displayed his Haitian passport on national television on Thursday to try to quell rumours that he gave up his citizenship and is not eligible to hold office.

“I am a native Haitian. I, Joseph Michel Martelly, have never lied,” the president said during a meeting with religious leaders at the presidential palace which was broadcast on national television.

The Haitian constitution does not recognise 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 US ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten and other diplomats looked on.