Haiti leaders agree to interim government amid protests

Haiti leaders agree to interim government amid protests

Haiti leaders agree to interim government amid protests

AFP photo

Haitian leaders have agreed to install a caretaker government to take over from President Michel Martelly when he leaves power this weekend without an elected successor, a move that failed to calm protesters who clashed with police again on Feb. 6. 

The agreement was reached less than 24 hours before Martelly steps down. Under the deal parliament will elect an interim president for a four-month term. 

The temporary president, expected to be chosen in the next few days, will be committed to holding delayed presidential elections by April 24 and handing power to the winner the following month. 

A presidential runoff due to be held last month was scrapped after opposition candidate Jude Celestin threatened to boycott the vote over allegations of fraud in the first round, and protesters took to the streets in force. 

Port-au-Prince has seen almost daily protests by both opposition and government supporters since January, culminating in the lynching of a former soldier during a march on Feb. 5. 

The agreement did not placate all sectors of the opposition. During the signing in an annex of the presidential palace that survived a devastating earthquake six years ago, small groups of anti-government protesters clashed outside with riot police who used a water canon and tear gas to disperse them. 

“Despite this agreement, we will need to continue to remain vigilant because there are people who won’t agree,” Martelly said at an event with foreign diplomats at the palace. 

“Every time they exercise violence Haiti makes one step backward,” Martelly said of the protesters.