Haiti’s President Michel Martelly yesterday swore in Evans Paul as the nation’s new prime minister,
and pledged to form a consensus government within 48 hours to solve a worsening political crisis.
Paul, a political opponent who was chosen after last month’s resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, took office during a ceremony at government headquarters attended by diplomats and political figures.
But he lacks the constitutional approval of parliament, whose term ended January 12 without any date being set for new elections.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday, accusing Martelly of tacitly allowing the parliament to expire so he can rule by decree like the country’s former dictators.
Though Martelly has said he would consult with 10 senators who remain in office before making any big decisions, opposition parties continue to demand he step down.
In a speech Friday, Martelly took responsibility for the impoverished nation’s political problems and said he would form a consensus government in the next 48 hours.
“No country has managed to bring development without unity around a strong and devoted state,” Martelly said.
Paul pledged that important opposition figures would be part of a new cabinet. He also said his main mission would be to “prepare conditions for democratic and inclusive elections in 2015.”
US Vice President Joe Biden on Friday spoke with Martelly by phone, saying he was disappointed that Haiti’s parliament did not pass an electoral law before January 12.
Biden also “commended President Martelly for his efforts to reach a negotiated agreement with the Haitian parliament and political parties to allow Haiti to hold elections,” the White House said in a statement.
Lamothe resigned December 14, following repeated calls for him to step down amid anti-government protests and the political crisis. (AFP)