Haiti appoints new president
PORT AU PRINCE – Jocelerme Privert was elected as the country’s interim president on Sunday, to fill the vacuum following the departure of Michel Martelly last week.
Privert, 62 who is the president of the National Assembly, was chosen on the second round of voting after a lengthy session that stretched overnight from Saturday to Sunday.
The politicians chose Privert over two other candidates, Dejan Belizaire and Edgar Leblanc Fils, both former presidents of the senate.
Under an agreement signed hours before Martelly’s departure, the interim president chosen by parliament will serve for up to 120 days.
The agreement proposes a new presidential election on April 24, with a new president installed on May 14.
President Michel Martelly left office last Sunday after being barred by the Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term in office.
Opposition parties had called for the establishment of an interim administration to oversee fresh elections in the country and had taken to the streets protesting the outcome of the first round of balloting on August 24 last year as well as preventing the staging of the second round of the presidential elections on January 24 this year.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed the election of Privert.
“This election stems from the agreement signed on February 6 between Haitian stakeholders to preserve institutional continuity and further the electoral process,” according to a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson.
In welcoming this “crucial first step”, the UN Secretary-General urged all parties to work together towards the implementation of the roadmap contained in the agreement “to ensure the return to constitutional normality.
“The Secretary-General expresses his confidence that the stabilization of Haiti and the democratic process will continue in a peaceful and collaborative manner,” the statement said.
“[The] election is a fundamental step in the implementation of the Political Agreement for institutional continuity, signed on February 5 between the branches of the executive and legislative branches of power,” said the UN Special Representative in Haiti, Sandra Honoré, in a joint statement with other members of the international community represented in the so called “Core Group” – Brazil, Canada, Spain, France, United States, European Union and Organization of American States.
The Group reiterated its invitation to all stakeholders to work together in achieving this political agreement, “to ensure the return to constitutional normality, stabilizing institutions of the Republic, the appointment of a consensus prime minister and the continuation of the electoral process on time.”
The UN and its partners in Haiti also called on all stakeholders to uphold the best interests of the country, in a spirit of dialogue and compromise, and in a peaceful, violence-free climate. (CMC)