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Haitian Lawmakers Choose Jocelerme Privert as Interim President

  • VOA News

Provisional president candidate Jocelerme Privert gives his speech in the Special Bicameral Commission for the election of the provisional President of the Republic in the Haitian Parliament in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 13, 2016.

Provisional president candidate Jocelerme Privert gives his speech in the Special Bicameral Commission for the election of the provisional President of the Republic in the Haitian Parliament in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Feb. 13, 2016.

Haitian lawmakers have chosen legislative leader Jocelerme Privert as the country's interim president to fill the void left by the recent departure of former president Michel Martelly.

Privert received the nod from his fellow lawmakers after a lengthy legislative session that lasted from Saturday into Sunday.

Privert said after the vote he hopes to lead a government that will "foster confidence within all sectors of society."

A new election will be held in the coming months.

Embattled Haitian president Martelly left office last Sunday as required by Haiti's constitution.

Ahead of Martelly's departure, the former pop music star told lawmakers in Port-Au-Prince that he was leaving office "to contribute to constitutional normalcy."

Martelly's exit was the latest turn in a months-long political crisis triggered by a first round of elections in October that featured 54 candidates seeking to succeed Martelly.

Critics described those polls as rife with corruption and rigged in favor of little-known ruling party candidate Jovenel Moise. Election tallies triggered protests across the capital and prompted opposition leaders to announce a boycott of any runoff.

A man riding a bike passes next to a car that was set afire by protesters during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.

A man riding a bike passes next to a car that was set afire by protesters during a demonstration against the electoral process in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Jan. 18, 2016.

A second round of voting has since been postponed twice over security concerns in and around the capital, leaving Haiti still struggling to establish a stable and enduring democracy 30 years after the overthrow of the Jean-Claude Duvalier dictatorship.

Analysts say the ongoing political turmoil has discouraged badly needed foreign investment in the country of 10 million people - already the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

The lack of foreign funds has in turn undercut efforts to recover from a 2010 earthquake that left parts of Port-Au-Prince in ruins.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.

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