PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A commission recently appointed by Haitian President Michel Martelly is calling for his prime minister to resign so a new consensus government can be formed, according to a report obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press.
The 11-member panel made up of former officials and religious leaders was appointed by Martelly on Nov. 28 to help resolve a political stalemate holding up long-delayed legislative and municipal elections. In recent months, there has been an uptick in street protests by government critics demanding government resignations and a chance to vote.
The commission's report says Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe's resignation would pave the way for a consensus government to be created. It also calls for members of Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council and the president of the Superior Judicial Council to step down as "appeasement measures."
Among other recommendations, the commission says "political prisoners" not yet taken before a judge should be immediately released and a "truce" should be adopted by political opponents to allow dialogue to take place.
Martelly was expected to hold a news conference about the commission's findings. There was no immediate comment from Lamothe, Haiti's No. 2 official.
Martelly was supposed to call elections in 2011 for a majority of Senate seats, the entire Chamber of Deputies and local offices. But he hasn't done so over the last year because the Senate has yet to approve an electoral law authorizing the vote.
The Chamber of Deputies has approved the legislation, but it has been held up in the Senate because of six senators who have blocked a vote. The six opposition senators argue the measure is unconstitutional and favors the government.
Martelly administration officials blame the senators for the standoff, insisting the government wants to hold the elections but can't because the lawmakers are preventing a quorum.