PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haiti will hold elections as soon as possible, new interim Prime Minister Enex Jean-Charles said on Friday, but he could not guarantee that an April 24 deadline could be met for the presidential vote that has already been postponed three times.
Haiti’s legislative body approved Jean-Charles’s government overnight, a step toward organizing the elections, after violent protests earlier in the year left the country without an elected president.
Legislators rejected the government program proposed by the previous interim prime minister, forcing him to step down, delaying the election process and raising questions as to whether President Jocelerme Privert would be able to hand over to an elected successor by a May deadline.
“We’ll do all we can to have a new elected president as soon as we possibly can,” Jean-Charles, a veteran of Haitian politics who has served as an aide to several presidents, told Reuters.
“But it will be up to the new electoral council, following a technical assessment of what remains to be done, to determine whether the April 24 deadline can be met or not.”
Several thorny issues must be resolved before elections can be held, including demands by parties which lost in an October first round of the presidential election and which allege the result were fraudulent.
An official investigation into the results found evidence of irregularities and said a deeper evaluation was needed. It is still not clear which candidates would be on the slate in the runoff vote scheduled for April 24.
“We can give the guarantee that we won’t do anything to try to remain in power longer than necessary,” Jean Charles said.
Editing by James Dalgleish