Health minister named as Haiti’s new interim prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – Haitian Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume was named interim prime minister yesterday to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned a week ago following several weeks of protests.

The announcement is part of an effort to resolve a mounting political crisis over long-delayed elections. Under Haiti’s constitution, Guillaume can hold the interim position for up to 30 days before a permanent choice is nominated for approval by parliament.

Lamothe was forced to resign after President Michel Martelly accepted the recommendations of a special commission appointed to defuse the crisis, including calling for the prime minister to go.

It also came after international warnings from the United States and the United Nations that the impoverished Caribbean nation was on the brink of political chaos again.

Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, is still recovering from an earthquake five years ago that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. In recent weeks, demonstrators in several cities have accused the government of corruption.

If elections are not held before Jan. 12, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, parliament will shut down, leaving the country without a functioning government until presidential elections in late 2015.

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