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Haiti's president Michel Martelly shows passport to prove he is not a US citizen

Opposition politicians had accused Michel Martelly of being a US citizen ineligible to hold office

Haiti pres passport 12 03 9Enlarge
The presidential palace in Port-au-Prince is pictured on Mar. 8 during tensions over the current presidents nationality. (Spencer Platt /AFP/Getty Images)

Haiti's President Michel Martelly has displayed his passport on national television to prove his is not a US citizen and is eligible to hold office.

In what Reuters describes as "a hastily-arranged news conference",  Martelly showed religious leaders and diplomats, including the American ambassador to Haiti, Kenneth Merten, the US entry stamps in his Haitan passport to prove he does not hold dual nationality.

The Haitian constitution forbids senior government officials from holding dual nationality, and politicians can be disqualified from office for having foreign citizenship, the news agency says.

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Martelly has held a US residency card in the past, AFP says, but he says he surrendered it when he was elected to office.

“I decided to show my documents proving my Haitian nationality,” he is quoted as saying at the news conference. “By making this gesture in all transparency before the Haitian people and before the entire world I will prove once more my goodwill and I will prove once again that I do not lie. I am a true Haitian – 100 percent.”

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

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It describes how several opposition senators had opened an inquiry into the question of his passport.  AFP says the committee had written to US and Italian authorities seeking data on Martelly's nationality.

Haiti Libre posted photographs of the President's eight passports and a full transcript of the press conference. 

The dual nationality issue has plagued Martelly since his inauguration last May, Reuters says, adding that it led to the resignation of Prime Minister Garry Conille in February.

More from GlobalPost: Garry Conille, Haiti's Prime Minister quits amid political crisis 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/haiti/120308/haitis-president-michel-martelly-shows-passport-prove-he