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UPDATED PM resigns: Haiti’s leader agrees to commission’s report calling for PM’s resignation



Haiti’s Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe resigns after protests

From BBC

Haiti’s prime minister has resigned, after violent anti-government protests over delayed elections.

“I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment,” Laurent Lamothe said in a televised address.

Protesters had called for President Michel Martelly and Mr Lamothe to resign.

Mr Martelly was to have called polls in 2011, but they were postponed in a stalemate over electoral law.

Opposition politicians accuse President Martelly of wanting to rule by decree and that legislation that would authorise the vote unfairly favours the government.

The government argues that opposition politicians are dragging their feet in the hope of extending their time in office without elections.

File photograph of Laurent Lamothe

Mr Lamothe had been prime minister since 2012

Parliament’s mandate expires in January, and unless elections are held, Mr Martelly would rule by decree.

A commission set up to break the stalemate said on Friday that Mr Lamothe should resign, along with the head of the Supreme Court and the country’s election commission.

Mr Martelly said earlier that the accepted the commission’s findings, and would meet government officials on Monday to discuss them.

Haiti is also still struggling to recover from a devastating 2010 earthquake.

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Original story:

Haiti’s leader agrees to commission’s report calling for PM’s resignation

By Joseph Guyler Delva From HCNN

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — Haiti’s President Michel Martelly announced on Friday that he agreed to the conclusions of a presidential commission’s report which called, among other things, for the resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe as part of a proposed solution to the Caribbean country’s current political crisis.

During an address to the nation, broadcast live on the government-run Radio and TV station and carried by several private media outlets, President Martelly said he agreed with the commission’s recommendations as he reported Lamothe’s commitment to resign to facilitate a solution to the current political crisis.

“The commission calls for the resignation of the Prime Minister.The commission’s report says that the Prime Minister told them [members of the commission] that he is ready to resign if the President would ask him to do so,” reported Martelly.

“So, the Prime Minister is ready to do such a sacrifice. The Prime minister is not a young man who was looking for a job. He is a young man who knows how to work and that is why I chose him,” explained Martelly hoping that Lamothe’s work will be recognized.

“I salute the stand that he has taken to ease the political situation. I congratulate him for his courage and determination to help Haiti,” said Martelly.

The Haitian leader also congratulated the members of the commission for their contribution to efforts aimed at solving a political impasse caused by long-delayed legislative and local elections, the intransigence of opposition Senators who have been blocking the adoption of an electoral law to facilitate the organization of the balloting and the extremism of a number of political parties and other groups.

The Commission called for the resignation of Prime Minister Lamothe, of a 9-member electoral council, of the President of the High Council of the Judiciary (CSPJ) and called on relevant authorities to free “political prisoners” and on opposition groups to cease a series of street demonstrations and other kinds of unrests.

“I agree to the recommendations presented. I agree to the report which has created hope for unity in Haiti,” stated Martelly. “And I am going to start working toward implementing it rapidly,” he assured.

However, the Haitian leader acknowledged the challenge of meeting a series of deadlines proposed by the commission for the implementation of a number of steps, given that the decisions that need to be taken do not depend only on the President.

“On Monday, I will start meeting with all the actors who have to play a role in the implementation of the recommendations,” announced Martelly.

As far as the release of the so-called political prisoners is concerned, Martelly denied that anyone in Haiti had been arrested or detained for political reasons.

“I do not recognize, as President, that there is one person in the country who has been detained for political reasons,” the Haitian leader explained.

“I already asked the Justice Minister to make sure that the rights of all those in prison be protected and to ask the CSPJ to ask all judges to accelerate proceedings regarding any victimized prisoners so that justice may be done,” Martelly stated.

Thanking Haitians and friends in Haiti and abroad for their support, the Haitian leader hoped that, after all these sacrifices, each sector, each institution, each branch of government, and each political actor, invited at each of the stages, truly play their role so that we may hold credible elections to democratically renew the political personnel so that Haiti may know an appeasement and that its sons and daughters may live in unity.”

(photo: Picasa)

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Related story:

Clinton warns against forcing Haiti PM to resign

images-cms-image-000000549By Joseph Guyler Delva From HCNN

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) — Former US president Bill Clinton acknowledged on Thursday that Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe has done a good job and that his removal from office could hinder progress made in Haiti over the past four years, as some seek to bring down what Clinton described as the most consistent and decisive government he has ever worked with in the Caribbean country.

In an interview to the Miami Herald, Clinton warned Haitian authorities and other stakeholders against any move to force Lamothe from office, arguing that his departure would jeopardize gains already made over the past years and could erode confidence in Haiti’s future.

“He’s done a really good job,” Clinton told the Miami Herald, talking about Lamothe, on Thursday.

“The one thing that Haiti doesn’t want [is] to get out of this process that [is] looking like ‘Ok, we had four great years, we were growing like crazy so you think we’ll throw it all away and go back to the old ways,” Clinton wondered.

“It won’t be good for the country,” warned Clinton who spoke to the Miami Herald on the margins of his one-day Future of the Americas summit at the University of Miami.

A Haitian presidential commission recommended this week that president Michel Martelly ask Lamothe to resign as part of an effort to solve a political crisis caused by long-overdue legislative and local elections, the recalcitrance of a handful of opposition Senators and the extremism of a number of political parties and other groups.

Clinton who has a long track record in Haiti called the Martelly/Lamothe government the most decisive while acknowledging that Haitian politics have always been complicated.

“No experience I’ve ever had in Haiti has been free of political complications; it’s a complicated country,” Clinton said

“This is the most consistent and decisive government I’ve ever worked with across a broad range of issues. And I think if you look at the sheer volume of investments they’ve attracted, everything from hotels to clean energy to healthcare, you have to ask yourself, ‘Why is this being done?’ ” he wondered.

Lamothe is known for his strong stand against corruption, contraband, drug trafficking and is widely believed to be a target of those involved with such wrongdoing. Under the Martelly administration and under Lamothe’s direct leadership the budget of the anti-corruption unit, known as ULCC, has doubled and an efficient anti-contraband brigade has been deployed and substantially increased logistical means have been provided.

To improve the fight against drug trafficking, the numbers of anti-drug agents went from less than 40 in 2011 to 200 today under Lamothe’s leadership as Chairman of the Haitian National Police High Council, known by its French acronym CSPN.

Clinton said if Lamothe’s political fate was up to him and if he [Clinton] were the one making the decision he would do it “in a way that would keep the doors to Haiti open and keep people wanting to be part of Haiti’s future.”

“They have to realize that the trust of other people, the support of other people and the involvement of other people is not a limitless commodity that is immune to what happens there,” he told the Miami Herald.

Clinton served as U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti after the country’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake and is appreciated as a great friend and ambassador for Haiti.

Lamothe, who became Prime Minister in May 2012, said he is ready to resign if President Martelly ask him to do so. However, he remains available to continue to serve as Prime Minister if so decides President Martelly, his advisors say.

IMAGE: President Michel Martelly (left), with Former President Bill Clinton

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