Haiti takes more steps to end political issues
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP):
Haiti was in a state of political flux following the resignation over the weekend of the country's prime minister because of an ongoing stalemate with opposition lawmakers in the Senate.
President Michel Martelly has not yet announced who he will nominate to replace Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe to run the government of the troubled country, and a presidential spokesman, Lucien Juras, declined in a news conference Monday to name the candidates.
Juras did say, however, that Martelly was addressing the recommendations of an independent commission created by the president to end the impasse over delayed legislative elections.
The recommendations he was carrying out included seeking the resignation of the nine members of the country's electoral council and the release of prisoners who government opponents have said were improperly jailed for political reasons, an allegation the president denies.
Martelly said late last week that he accepted the recommendations of the commission, which include the resignation of Lamothe, who announced he was stepping down early Sunday.
"I made the ultimate sacrifice for the country to move forward and to respect the findings of an independent commission set up by president," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I always said I would be part of the solution to the problem and not part of the problem itself and I kept my word."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry praised Martelly for accepting the recommendations of the commission, describing his acceptance of resignation of the prime minister as proof of his commitment to resolving the impasse.
"The United States urges all parties to reach without delay a definitive agreement on all outstanding issues and to carry out that agreement in good faith," Kerry said Tuesday.
Lamothe predicted it would be difficult to win approval from the Senate and Chamber of Deputies for his replacement, noting that it typically takes about 90 days to approve a prime minister and Cabinet in the politically fractious country.
Lamothe said his 31-month tenure was actually the longest for a prime minister in Haiti and said the country had made significant gains, particularly considering the devastation of the January 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the capital.
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