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Will Haiti PM's Resignation Defuse The Political Crisis? Don't Count On It

Patrick Farrell
Miami Herald

Yesterday’s resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe was supposed to help end Haiti’s long and sometimes violent political crisis. Don’t get your hopes up.

Most Haitians weren’t even awake when Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe’s taped resignation speech was televised at 2 a.m. Sunday morning. The government blamed technical difficulties for the delay.

Impoverished Haiti has been rocked in recent weeks by new street protests against Lamothe’s boss, President Michel Martelly. One person was killed over the weekend, and at one point U.N. peacekeeping forces had to shoot into crowds of demonstrators.

Martelly’s opponents accuse him of being corrupt and authoritarian. And they demand he hold parliamentary elections that are three years overdue. But they’re also blocking a vote on his new electoral law because they say it’s unconstitutional and favors his party. A special commission Martelly set up to address the crisis recommended Lamothe’s exit. But it most likely won’t resolve the dispute. Meanwhile, Haiti’s current Congress is set to expire January 12. That means Martelly could begin ruling by decree – and that could further enrage Haiti’s opposition.

Martelly has so far given no indication when he’ll select a new prime minister, or who it might be.

Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.