Haiti’s Prime Minister Evans Paul has resigned, government sources said, paving the way for the establishment of an interim government to take over from outgoing President Michel Martelly after a botched election and violent street protests last month. Martelly, who heads Haiti’s government, is due to leave office on Sunday.
A January 24 run-off to choose his successor was cancelled after people took to the streets to protest against what the opposition said was fraud in the first round.
The opposition does not want elections organised under Martelly, or Paul, who was considered to be part of the president’s administration. Paul wrote his resignation letter yesterday, a senior source in his office told Reuters. A second government source said Martelly had now received it.
Senator Carl Murat Cantave said Martelly had proposed three possible interim prime ministers, including Paul himself, an option unlikely to be accepted by the opposition.
“We are going to work relentlessly. We won’t sleep if necessary, to make sure a government is in place by the February 7 deadline, and that necessary steps are taken to complete the electoral process,” he said.
Under a proposal drawn up by Martelly and leaders of parliament, Paul’s replacement would be chosen by consensus and approved by parliament and the president this week, lawmaker Gary Bodeau said.
The new prime minister would rule jointly with a council of ministers after Martelly leaves office, Bodeau said. Opposition candidate Jude Celestin had refused to take part in the January vote, which he called “a farce”.
The impoverished Caribbean nation has been trying since the 1980s to build a stable democracy in the wake of the decades-long rule of the Duvalier family.
The US, which spent some $33mn on the election, fears an interim government might linger for years, leaving Haiti without a democratically elected president, a situation that the country has suffered in the past.
Bodeau said the proposal specified that the new government would have to organise elections and hand over power by May.
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