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Health Minister Named as Haiti's New Interim Prime Minister

Haiti's Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume, left, leads a tour for first lady Sophia Martelly through a warehouse housing a donation of kits to treat chikungunya, in the Cite Soleil slum, in Port-au-Prince, Sept. 10, 2014.

Haitian Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume was named interim prime minister on Sunday to replace Laurent Lamothe, who resigned a week ago following several weeks of protests.

The announcement is part of an effort to resolve a mounting political crisis over long-delayed elections. Lamothe's resignation also came after international warnings from the United States and the United Nations that the impoverished Caribbean nation was on the brink of political chaos again.

Guillaume's temporary appointment was announced in an e-mail signed by Enex Jean-Charles, the secretary of the Council of Ministers.

A career health worker whose official title is Minister of Public Health and Population, she has overseen efforts to rebuild the country's frail medical services, including new hospitals and combating a cholera epidemic and long-running HIV-AIDS treatment.

Haiti, the poorest and most unequal country in the western hemisphere, is still recovering from an earthquake five years ago that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. In recent weeks, demonstrators in several cities have accused the government of corruption, calling for the resignation of Lamothe and President Michel Martelly.

If elections are not held before Jan. 12, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, parliament will shut down, leaving the country without a functioning government until presidential elections in late 2015.