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

  • One dead, two injured in fire at Ontario youth home

    Canada News CTV News
    KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. -- Ontario provincial police are investigating a fatal fire at a group home for teenagers in the Kawartha Lakes area. Members of the OPP's Kawartha Lakes Detachment were called to the youth facility northwest of the Village of Oakwook late Friday afternoon. Source
  • Turkish PM launches 'yes' campaign over Erdogan powers

    World News CBC News
    Turkey's prime minister has officially launched his ruling party's campaign for a "yes" vote in a referendum on ushering in a presidential system, which critics fear will concentrate too many powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Source
  • Suspect in deadly Kim Jong-nam attack says she got $90 for 'prank'

    World News CBC News
    The Indonesian woman who is one of the suspects in the killing of North Korean ruler Kim Jong-un's half brother said she was paid $90 for what she believed was a prank, an Indonesian official said Saturday. Source
  • Britain's 'extremely weak' opposition posing no challenge for PM Theresa May

    World News CBC News
    Winston Churchill is credited with once saying "Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it." The current British prime minister may illustrate the opposite, as Theresa May flies high, facing an opposition akin to a gentle breeze. Source
  • Hard, hard times again — sort of: Why a lot of N.L.'s fiscal problems are self-inflicted

    Canada News CBC News
    Dwight Ball, the affable pharmacist who has been Newfoundland and Labrador's premier for the last 15 months, said something remarkable Wednesday while swinging an axe through several hundred government jobs. "We're human, too. This impacts us," said Ball, who clearly has shown no relish for the more brutal parts of dealing with an oil-dependent economy during a collapse in petroleum prices. Source
  • Giant Tiger and other discounters in expansion mode

    Canada News CBC News
    Whenever Anna Maria Afable travels from British Columbia to visit her friends in Ontario, she makes a point to stop in at a Giant Tiger store. "We don't have it in B.C.," says Afable, as she browses through the fashion section at a location in Barrie, Ont, the newest of the discount chain's 200 stores across the country. Source
  • Want millennial voters? Conservatives must change, researchers say

    Canada News CBC News
    Researchers brought a sobering message to the annual convention of the right-leaning Manning Centre Friday: most voters under 35 aren't connecting with the conservative movement, and if it wants to reach them, more than just messaging needs to change. Source
  • Royal Canadian Mint struggles to make money: documents

    Canada News CBC News
    The Royal Canadian Mint just isn't making the money it used to. Revenue is down sharply, jobs have been chopped, morale is in the tank, and formerly successful lines of business are being shut down – even as the mint spends millions of dollars on new executive offices. Source
  • Muhammad Ali's son detained at Florida airport, questioned on religion

    World News CTV News
    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- A lawyer says the son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained by immigration officials at a Florida airport. Chris Mancini tells the Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky that 44-year-old Muhammad Ali Jr. Source
  • U.S. government wants appeal of travel ban put on hold

    World News CTV News
    SEATTLE -- The Justice Department wants a federal appeals court to put U.S. President Donald Trump's travel ban case on hold until he issues a new order, but the states who sued to stop the ban want the case to move forward. Source