Haiti's President Searches For Next Prime Minister
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
In this part of the program, we're going to continue one man's walk around the world. It's for National Geographic. But first, let's stop in Haiti, which is in political crisis. The latest evidence of that came yesterday when its prime minister was forced to resign by its president, Michel Martelly. The Caribbean nation is still recovering from a devastating earthquake nearly five years ago. Added to that, there have been growing protests about long-overdue elections and allegations of corruption. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.
CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: Haiti's prime minister took to the airwaves before dawn Sunday morning and announced his resignation. Laurent Lamothe told Haitians he was leaving his post with a feeling of accomplishment and hoped the move would unblock the political crisis. Local and national elections of more than three years overdue. On January 12, the terms of more than a dozen senators expire. It's unclear whether a new prime minister pick could be approved before that date.
Lamothe's resignation was part of several recommendations given to President Michel Martelly from a special commission set up to break the political impasse. Opposition leaders have blocked elections saying the process unfairly favors the government's candidates. Lamothe was widely believed to be Martelly's pick for president next November. Opposition protests have escalated in recent weeks. This weekend, one man was shot dead as demonstrators clashed with police.Friday, U.N. peacekeepers fired into a crowd of protesters. If national elections aren't held before January 12, a highly unlikely proposition, parliament will be dissolved and President Martelly will rule by decree - for many, a troubling echo of Haiti's dictatorial past. Carrie Kahn, NPR News.
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