Port-au-Prince (AFP) – Haiti’s interim leader, Jocelerme Privert, officially swore in his cabinet Monday, promising an urgent push forward to get the Caribbean nation’s electoral process back on track.
“You will not have the luxury of any grace period: It is already time to get to work” he told cabinet ministers at the National Palace.
Haiti has been fighting to emerge from a political crisis since a runoff presidential election in January was suspended amid allegations of fraud on the part of the government.
Privert, 62, was named acting president to replace the outgoing Michel Martelly and appointed a prime minister in late February — former central bank governor Fritz-Alphonse Jean. But lawmakers rejected his program to form a government, so Jean could not serve.
Privert, whose mandate began February 14 and is to last 120 days, went back to the drawing board and named Enex Jean-Charles as prime minister.
The 55-year-old civil servant and professor of administrative law has previously served as an adviser to several presidents.
The 15-member cabinet proposed by Jean-Charles was approved in both the senate and the lower chamber.
Privert’s main job going forward will be to steer the electoral process back on track and hold the postponed runoff vote.
In October Martelly’s favored candidate, Jovenel Moise, won the first round of presidential voting 33 percent to 25 percent over runner-up Jude Celestin.
The opposition politician denounced the results as a “ridiculous farce.”
A scheduled January 24 runoff between Moise and Celestin was canceled when Celestin refused to participate unless widespread electoral reforms were enacted, and following violence and protests.
Thirty years after the end of the Duvalier dictatorship, Haiti is still struggling to hold credible elections that would boost development and raise the standard of living for the 60 percent of the population living below the poverty line.
Haiti also is still dealing with the aftermath of the powerful January 2010 earthquake that killed some 160,000 people and caused widespread destruction.