PORT-AU-PRINCE, (Reuters) – Haitian President Michel Martelly announced the formation of a new government via Facebook late yesterday in a bid to rescue the impoverished Caribbean nation from political crisis.
Martelly on Friday promised to use his executive authority to form a consensus government after parliament was dissolved last week due to the failure to hold elections.
Despite promising a new government, Martelly kept several current cabinet members in their posts including the ministers of health, tourism, education, foreign affairs, defense and public works.
He also appointed several allies to key positions, including the new minister of planning, Yves Germain Joseph, and the secretary of state for public security, Carel Alexandre.
The 18 ministers and 16 secretaries of state will be sworn in this afternoon, Martelly said in an official statement on his Facebook page.
In a major speech on Friday, Martelly urged anti-government demonstrators to maintain order as he seeks to steer the country toward new elections. He also swore in a new prime minister on Friday night, former Port-au-Prince mayor, Evans Paul.
After the dissolution of parliament, some observers worry that Haiti, with its history of coups, uprisings and dictatorships, is once again on a slippery slope towards political instability.
The country has witnessed weeks of street protests against government corruption and Martelly’s perceived autocratic tendencies, as well as perceived U.S. political meddling.
A last minute, U.S.-brokered proposal to extend the life of parliament and call elections fell apart last week after opposition political parties decided not to show up for a crucial vote to approve the deal.
In a phone call with Martelly on Friday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed disappointment with the collapse of parliament and voiced his support for Martelly.
Haiti remains heavily dependent on U.S. financial aid and Washington fears that a political collapse could spark mass migration to the United States.
Haiti is the poorest nation in the hemisphere and is still recovering from a devastating earthquake in Jan 2010 that destroyed large parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Haiti has not held legislative or municipal elections for three years, leaving parliament without a quorum as terms expired on Jan 12.
Haiti is scheduled to hold presidential elections at the end of the year. Municipal and legislative elections could be held this summer, though Martelly has not announced a date yet and must first form an Electoral Council.