March 21, 2016 / 2:14 AM / 3 years ago

Haiti lawmakers reject prime minister's plan, deepening election uncertainty

Appointed Haiti's prime minister Fritz Jean gives a speech at his inauguration ceremony in the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, February 26, 2016. REUTERS/Andres Martinez Casares

(Reuters) - Haiti’s lower chamber of parliament on Sunday rejected a program submitted by Prime Minister Fritz Jean, lawmakers said, throwing up a new hurdle as the politically volatile country struggles to meet deadlines to transfer power from an interim to an elected government.

The recently appointed prime minister cannot form his cabinet or move forward with organizing the election without approval for the program.

According to a recent agreement between the executive and the legislative branches, a presidential runoff election is scheduled to take place on April 24, while a new president is due to take office by May 14.

The election has been postponed several times since last year, most recently in January.

“We rejected the program of Fritz Jean because his nomination by President Privert did not meet the consensus requirements which should characterize the prime minister,” Deputy Gary Bodeau, told Reuters after the vote.

President Jocelerme Privert may be forced to present parliament with a new option for prime minister.

“The country’s general situation is an emergency,” said Antoine Rodon Bien-Aime, from a party supporting the prime minister. “Our colleagues prioritize their partisan interest over the collective interests of the Haitian people.”

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