December 26, 2014 / 1:33 AM / 5 years ago

Veteran politician Evans Paul nominated for prime minister of Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Former Port-au-Prince mayor and veteran politician Evans Paul was nominated as prime minister by President Michel Martelly on Thursday in the latest attempt to resolve a political crisis over long-delayed elections in Haiti.

Paul, who rose to political prominence in the 1990s as an ally of controversial two-time former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, must be confirmed by parliament before he can start putting together a new government.

His nomination was announced by Martelly via Twitter early evening on Christmas Day.

If approved, Paul would take over from Florence Duperval Guillaume, who was named interim prime minister on Sunday as a temporary replacement for Laurent Lamothe.

Lamothe was forced to resign earlier this month following several weeks of protests, quitting after Martelly accepted the recommendations of a presidential commission appointed to defuse the crisis. Paul, 59, was a member of the commission, which called for the prime minister’s removal.

His resignation also came after warnings from the United States and the United Nations that the impoverished Caribbean nation was on the brink of political chaos again.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, is still recovering from a 2010 earthquake that leveled much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. In recent weeks, demonstrators in several cities have accused the government of corruption.

Paul, a former journalist known as K-Plim or The Pen, was elected mayor of Port-au-Prince in 1990 as an ally of Aristide, a fiery former liberation theology priest who was twice overthrown as president in 1991 and 2004.

Paul later split with Aristide, becoming one of his most vocal critics. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2006, receiving 2.5 percent of the vote.

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.

Writing and additional reporting by David Adams; Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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