Haiti Interim President swears in new Cabinet

Privert hopes for presidential elections to be held next month

Haiti’s Interim President Jocelerme Privert has sworn in a 15-member Cabinet, promising citizens that his administration would push ahead with the planned presidential elections scheduled for next month.

“You will not have the luxury of any grace period: It is already time to get to work” he told the ministers at the National Palace on Monday. “I would ask you to measure the extent of the mission entrusted to you. You will not have the risk of a grace time. The time is to work.”

Last weekend, the Parliament approved Enex Jean-Charles, a 55-year-old professor of administrative law, as the new interim prime minister after it had earlier rejected the first nominee, economist Fritz-Alphonse Jean. The interim government has to organize the second round of presidential and legislatives elections, scheduled for April 24, according to the agreement signed by former President Michel Martelly and leading lawmakers in February.

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Jean-Charles, who was a special adviser to three former presidents, said “the major challenges of the fight against insecurity, hunger, high prices, corruption in a conjuncture marked with the electoral controversy” at the end of last year and that “the urgency of the hour therefore recommends us to put us immediately to the task.”

Last October, Jovenel Moise, who was strongly favored by Martelly to succeed him, won the first round of presidential voting 33 percent as against 25 percent for Jude Celestin, who along with opposition parties denounced the results. A scheduled January 24 runoff between Moise and Celestin was canceled when Celestin refused to participate unless widespread electoral reforms were enacted, and following violence and protests.

Local media reported that Privert called for a Cabinet meeting Tuesday regarding the formation of the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), which has the responsibility of organizing the elections, will be composed. The Parliament had also last week dismissed Privert’s choice for members of the CEP.

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