PORT-AU-PRINCE: Health Minister Florence Duperval Guillaume has been named interim prime minister by Haiti president Michel Martelly.
Opposition politicians have been organizing street demonstrations in a bid to force the resignation of Martelly, who was forced to accept former health minister Laurent Lamothe’s resignation following the recommendations of a special commission Martelly appointed to help defuse tensions over the delay in general elections. Under Haiti’s constitution, Guillaume can hold the interim position for up to 30 days before a permanent choice is nominated for approval by parliament.
Martelly has been holding talks with several social and political groups in a bid to pave the way for the holding of the long-delayed election to renew two thirds of the 30-member Senate, the entire Lower Chamber and hundreds of local government bodies. Out of the 30 senate members, only 20 remain in office and amendments to an existing electoral law are required to facilitate the vote.
However, six opposition legislators have consistently refused to attend the meetings of the Senate preventing the body from getting the required 16-member quorum needed to hold a session.
Political observers note that by January 12, 2015 the Haitian parliament will become dysfunctional with only 10 senators left, while 16 are required to hold a session.
A career health worker whose official title is minister of public health and population, Guillaume was named health minister in 2011. She previously was deputy chief of management science for Health in Haiti, an organization working with government and private groups across a wide range of medical problems.