Haiti names former Central Bank governor as prime minister

Haiti's provisional President Jocelerme Privert (L) and appointed Prime Minister Fritz-Alphonse Jean at the swearing in ceremonyREUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

Fritz-Alphonse Jean appointed Prime Minister of Haiti

Haiti’s interim leader, Jocelerme Privert, has named former Central Bank governor, Fritz-Alphonse Jean, as prime minister to Haiti.  

Appointed by decree, Jean was installed on Friday with a 120-day mandate which includes putting together a caretaker government, and to complete Haiti’s suspended elections.  

With some 60 percent of the population suffering from extreme poverty in this poorest of the Americas countries, Jean said he was aware of the challenges he faces, and criticized previous administrations.

“For decades, frustrations have piled up in our country due to unkept promises,” the head of state said Friday during his first public speech.We need to stop improvising and start planning.”

Standing by his side, Privert reiterated his goal to unite a highly polarized political system.

Jean’s job will include helping create a balanced election council supported by Haiti’s fractious rival political parties, a key step needed to hold the election set for April.

A runoff election due on Jan. 24 was cancelled amid violent protests, and after the opposition candidate said he would not take part because of widespread fraud in the first round.

Privert is meant to hand over power to an elected president in May.

Privert’s nomination is being contested however by outgoing Prime Minister, Evans Paul, citing the appointment as unconstitutional.

Jean’s predecessor Evans Paul said he disapproved of the nomination while other opposition leaders claim that the new PM is an ally of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide who was ousted in a 2004 coup d’état.

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