Haiti opposition cautiously welcomes PM Lamothe’s resignation

Haiti’s emboldened opposition has welcomed the resignation of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe (above, right), who faced repeated calls to go over his 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 Haiti back to dictatorial rule.

I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment.

Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe

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. 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. Opposition parties had boycotted recent talks initiated by the government aimed at resolving the crisis before the end of the year. On Saturday, prior to Lamothe’s announcement, one man was shot dead during anti-government demonstrations in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.