Haiti’s Prime Minster Laurent Lamothe has bowed to pressure from anti-government protesters pushing for long-delayed elections and calling for his ouster, saying he will step down.
“I am leaving the post of prime minister this evening with a feeling of accomplishment,” Lamothe announced in Port-au-Prince, the capital of the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The prime minister said he leaves office after accomplishing the “remarkable work” of the government.
“We put this country on a dynamic of deep and real change for the benefit of the population,” he said.
Lamothe’s resignation, reportedly pushed by President Michel Martelly, a former close ally who has also been the subject of protesters’ ire, is meant to quell discontent over elections that were to have taken place three years ago.
The BBC notes that Parliament’s mandate expires in January and that unless elections are held by then, Martelly would be allowed to rule by decree. The 2011 elections, it says, “were postponed in a stalemate over electoral law.
“Opposition politicians accuse President Martelly of wanting to rule by decree and that legislation that would authorise the vote unfairly favours the government.
“The government argues that opposition politicians are dragging their feet in the hope of extending their time in office without elections.”
According to Reuters:
“Lamothe, 42, had been expected to run for president next year, but his forced resignation may have dented his chances.
Martelly’s decision to sacrifice Lamothe to appease his critics also may not be enough for more radical opponents who have vowed not to rest until the president is ousted too.”