PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti’s emboldened opposition welcomed the resignation Sunday of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, who faced repeated calls to go over the failure to hold legislative elections in the past three years.
The increasingly unpopular Lamothe’s resignation had been widely expected after President Michel Martelly said Friday that his cabinet chief was ready to leave “to help find a solution” to the Caribbean country’s dragging political impasse.
But it remains to be seen whether Lamothe’s decision to quit will have that effect, in the poorest country in the Western hemisphere and one with a checkered history of dictatorship and violent protests.
If elections are not held before January 12, the legislature will be automatically dissolved and Martelly can rule by decree. His critics have warned he could send back Haiti to dictatorial rule and also are demanding that he resign.
A commission set up by the president has recommended forming a consensus government including opposition members, disbanding Haiti’s electoral council and freeing political prisoners.
Martelly is scheduled to meet Monday with the presidents of the two legislative chambers to choose a replacement for Lamothe.
“I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment,” Lamothe, 42, said during a televised speech, touting his government’s “remarkable” record, which he said included reduced poverty and a 50 percent drop in crime.
Andre Michel, a young opposition protester and lawyer, branded Lamothe’s departure “too little, too late” and called for more demonstrations against the ruling elite.