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Haiti leader installs new prime minister

Haitian President Michel Martelly (L) stands with Prime Minister Evans Paul before a speech to the nation at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on January 16, 2015/AFP

Haitian President Michel Martelly (L) stands with Prime Minister Evans Paul before a speech to the nation at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on January 16, 2015/AFP

Port au-Prince, Jan 17- Haiti’s President Michel Martelly swore in as the country’s new prime minister Evans Paul, a political opponent who was chosen after last month’s resignation of Laurent Lamothe.

Paul took office during a ceremony at government headquarters attended by diplomats and political figures.

However, he still does not have the constitutional approval of parliament, whose term ended January 12 without any date being set for new elections.

Protesters, who again took to the streets on Friday, accuse Martelly of tacitly allowing the parliament to expire in order to rule by decree like the country’s former dictators.

Though Martelly has said he would consult with 10 senators who remain in office before making any big decisions, opposition parties continue to demand he step down.

Calling for unity, Martelly announced the formation of a consensus government in the next 48 hours.

“No country has managed to bring development without unity around a strong and devoted state,” Martelly said.

For his part, Paul pledged that important opposition figures would be part of a new cabinet. He also said his main mission would be to “prepare conditions for democratic and inclusive elections in 2015.”

US Vice President Joe Biden on Friday spoke with Martelly, saying he was disappointed that Haiti’s parliament did not pass an electoral law before January 12.

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Biden also “commended President Martelly for his efforts to reach a negotiated agreement with the Haitian parliament and political parties to allow Haiti to hold elections,” the White House said in a statement.

Lamothe resigned December 14, following repeated calls for him to step down amid anti-government protests and the political crisis.

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