Haiti's president departs to make way for interim government

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- President Michel Martelly made his farewell speech to Haiti as he departed office Sunday with no successor yet chosen because a runoff election was scrapped last month amid violent protests and deep suspicions about vote rigging.

See Full Article

In a nearly 20-minute speech before a joint session of Parliament, Martelly said his "biggest regret is that the presidential election was postponed." Addressing the Haitian people, he said he worked "night and day" to improve the country and was "ready to answer before the court of history."

Martelly, who took office in May 2011, is departing on what was scheduled as the first day of Port-au-Prince's annual three-day Carnival celebration. However, authorities called off Sunday's festivities because of a tense atmosphere amid the political uncertainty.

Lawmakers are beginning a process to patch together a short-term interim government to smooth political divisions and fill the void left by Martelly's departure. Prime Minister Evans Paul remains in office for now, awaiting a provisional president to be chosen by Parliament in the coming days.

Haiti last created a transitional government in 2004. That interim administration, which lasted for two years, took power in the chaotic days after President Jean Bertrand-Aristide was ousted by a rebellion and a U.N. peacekeeping force came to stabilize the country.

This time, with quarrelling political factions throwing Haiti into an electoral and constitutional crisis, a last-minute deal was forged by Martelly and lawmakers less than 24 hours before his scheduled departure from office. A special mission from the 35-nation Organization of American States was in Haiti to observe last week's negotiations and help foster dialogue.

The deal announced Saturday says an interim government will rule until an elected leader can take office May 14. The twice postponed presidential and legislative runoff is rescheduled for April 24.

Martelly expressed satisfaction with the agreement, saying lawmakers "gave me a guarantee that the country is going to be stable and I can leave office in peace."

He handed over his presidential sash after his address and embraced many of the 23 senators and 86 deputies in the National Assembly. The senators wore black suits and hats while the deputies wore white. Seven legislators were absent.

Senate President Jocelerme Privert said Parliament will accept nominations for a provisional president over the next five days. Legislators are expected to vote for a leader of the caretaker government a couple of days after the nomination period ends.

Some opposition lawmakers disagree with the accord reached by Martelly and legislators, but Privert said they will have to accept the majority's decision. "This is the democratic way," he said.

In a Sunday statement, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Haitian authorities to implement the accord "in order to ensure the democratic transfer of power to elected officials."

About 100 government supporters gathered outside Parliament wearing pink T-shirts emblazoned with the words: "I am Martelly." Pink is the colour of his Tet Kale political faction.

Martelly greeted his supporters and waved from a car before his convoy sped off.

It was not immediately clear what his immediate plans were. The pop star-turned-president repeatedly said he wanted to depart office singing on a Carnival float under his pop singer stage name, "Sweet Micky." But another anti-government protest disrupted life in downtown Port-au-Prince on Sunday and some Carnival stands were destroyed.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Dozens missing in Indonesia as ferry sinks

    World News CBC News
    Dozens of people are missing from a ferry that sank on Indonesia's Lake Toba, casting a tragic pall over holidays marking the end of the Muslim holy month. Cellphone video released Tuesday by the National Disaster Mitigation Agency shows the crew of another ferry attempting to rescue people struggling in the waters shortly after the sinking Monday evening but being hampered by bad weather and rough waters. Source
  • Bellegarde downplays relationship with Trudeau as AFN race gets underway

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - Experience usually helps when it comes to getting a job - except, it seems, when that job is at the helm of the Assembly of First Nations, where experience often seems more of a liability than an asset. Source
  • Doug Ford's triumphant PCs gather for first caucus meeting

    Canada News CBC News
    As premier-designate Doug Ford forges ahead with his plans even before formally taking power, his victorious Progressive Conservative candidates arrive at Queen's Park Tuesday for their first caucus meeting since the election. The 76-strong PC caucus is the largest of any Ontario party since the Mike Harris PCs won their landslide back in 1995. Source
  • Ex-MP received 'secret' cut of $12.4M deal in resort town run by his sister, OPP probe alleges

    Canada News CBC News
    A former Liberal MP may have used his connections with municipal officials in a popular vacation town northwest of Toronto — including his sister, the mayor — to secure a $756,000 consulting fee that was hidden from taxpayers, police documents obtained by CBC News reveal. Source
  • Children's distress may help Trump bargain for his border wall

    World News CBC News
    The Trump White House tacitly acknowledged Monday that it needed a more coherent argument for why government agents are snatching children from their parents and holding them in cages. So it rolled out Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to make that case, even though Nielsen, just 24 hours earlier, had denied that such a thing was even happening. Source
  • 'It kills that mass market': Burgeoning British bourbon market braces for EU tariffs on U.S. exports

    World News CBC News
    A bartender on the early shift cleans a whisky glass as light filters through a window draped with velvet curtains and falls on the rows of bourbon lining the bar. A collection of antiquated muskets and shotguns is carefully arranged on the wall beside skulls and antlers sourced from Texas, giving the room an air of the antebellum South. Source
  • Facebook's 'unpleasant underbelly' policed by thousands of content reviewers worldwide

    World News CBC News
    Sarah Katz's eyes dart around the Palo Alto, Calif., coffee shop. "Am I OK to speak here?" she said, not wanting to offend anyone within earshot with what she was about to describe. "I don't want to, like, bother people. Source
  • North Korea's Kim visits Beijing, as South Korea, U.S. halt military drill

    World News CBC News
    North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, where he will likely brief Chinese President Xi Jinping on his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump last week, as Washington and Seoul agreed to suspend a major joint military exercise. Source
  • Indian police arrest 19 in test-cheating scams

    World News CTV News
    LUCKNOW, India - Police in north India have broken up a series of scams that used professional test-takers and high-tech listening devices to help applicants pass a two-day test to become police constables. Police officials say the Uttar Pradesh state Special Task Force made 19 arrests Monday. Source
  • South Korea says U.S. military drills suspended to aid talks with North

    World News CTV News
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - South Korea said Tuesday that a joint military exercise scheduled with the U.S. has been suspended to support ongoing talks both countries have with North Korea. "South Korea and the U.S. Source