UN chief urges Haiti to pick new government
February 08 2016 10:59 PM

AFP/United Nations

UN chief Ban Ki-moon yesterday welcomed Haiti’s agreement on a transitional government as President Michel Martelly left office without a successor, and Ban urged parties to implement the deal.
The agreement, signed late Saturday by the presidents of both chambers of the national assembly, keeps the country from plunging into an immediate power vacuum on Martelly’s exit, after an election to choose his replacement was postponed over fears of violence.
“The agreement is in the spirit of the Haitian Constitution,” Ban’s spokesman said, adding that the UN secretary-general urged “all actors concerned to implement it in order to ensure the democratic transfer of power to elected officials.”
Ban “encourages all actors to promote measures aimed at fostering calm and stability (and) reaffirms the commitment of the United Nations to extend its full support to the Haitian people in the fulfillment of their democratic aspirations,” the statement added.
A runoff between Martelly’s favoured candidate, Jovenel Moise, and opposition flag-bearer Jude Celestin, was called off following violence and opposition protests by demonstrators alleging that foul play had helped the government candidate take the first round.
The provisional government allows for lawmakers to pick an acting president to serve for up to 120 days.
Elections are set for April 24 and the winner would take office in May.
But there is a major catch. A group of eight losing candidates from the first round rejected the notion of parliament choosing the interim president, and called instead for a Supreme Court judge to lead the process.
The group, which includes the opposition candidate for the runoff, Jude Celestin, believes the parliamentarians, who were elected in the same flawed October first round, do not have the legitimacy to oversee the interim government or a new vote.
“This alleged agreement attempts to validate the 2015 elections as if they were regular, regardless of popular protests that resulted in numerous casualties,” spokesman Samuel Madistin said in a statement.
Madistin said the agreement reflected the position of part of the international community and Haiti’s ruling class.
Opposition protesters and police clashed in downtown Port-au-Prince in the area that hosts the capital’s heavily attended and raucous annual Mardi Gras celebrations, with some groups trying to attack Carnival stages.
The Carnival organising committee called off the first day of the festival, citing the unrest. Two top musical groups had already pulled out, with bandleader Roberto Martino saying his group, T-Vice, might not take part at all.

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