Haitian politicians have elected Jocelerme Privert as the troubled country’s interim president to fill a power vacuum after the departure of Michel Martelly.
Privert, 62, a senator and the current president of the National Assembly, was chosen on the second round of voting after a lengthy session that stretched overnight from Saturday to Sunday.
The politicians chose Privert over two other candidates, Dejan Belizaire and Edgar Leblanc Fils, both former presidents of Haiti’s senate.
Martelly ended his five-year term without a successor on February 7.
Under an agreement signed hours before Martelly’s departure, the interim president chosen by parliament will serve for up to 120 days.
The agreement proposes a new presidential election on April 24, with a new president installed on May 14.
A January 24 runoff between Martelly’s favoured candidate, Jovenel Moise, and opposition flag-bearer Jude Celestin, was canceled after violence and opposition protests alleging that Moise won the first round through “dirty tricks” and with government support.
‘Parliamentary coup d’etat’
The plan to elect an interim president by indirect vote however angered opponents, who have protested the electoral process for months.
Some politicians also questioned the legitimacy of Privert’s candidacy. “Stop the parliamentary coup d’etat,” lawmaker Gary Bodeau said. “Parliament cannot be judge and jury… the process is not impartial.” Bodeau said.
The political turmoil is the latest challenge for the Caribbean country that is the poorest in the Americas.