Haiti's new 'consensus' government fails to satisfy opposition

Haiti's new 'consensus' government fails to satisfy opposition
Haitian President Michel Martelly (C) and the new Prime Minister Evans Paul (R) are seen during the investiture ceremony of the Ministers and State Secretaries of the new Haitian Government at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince on January 19, 2015.

PORT-AU-PRINCE - Haitian President Michel Martelly has named a new cabinet as he tries to end a wave of street protests against his rule of the impoverished Caribbean country, but opposition leaders said he broke his promise to create a consensus government.

Martelly announced his cabinet choices via Facebook late on Sunday night, keeping the ministers of defence, foreign affairs, health, tourism, education and public works in their jobs and appointing allies to the key positions of planning minister and secretary of state for public security.

Martelly, who is also a popular singer known as "Sweet Micky," has been in power since 2011. But he has failed to end Haiti's long-running political turmoil and protesters have called for him to step down.

Haiti's parliament was dissolved last week after last-minute negotiations to extend the terms of its members collapsed.

With protests against him swelling, Martelly promised on Friday to use his executive powers to build a broad-based government, but opponents quickly criticised his cabinet choices on Monday.

"There is not a real opening as promised," former Senate president Simon Desras told Reuters, noting that only one opposition member made the cabinet list. "This isn't solving the crisis and, worst, it's bringing more problems."

He said the choice of Carel Alexandre as head of public security was especially "worrying."

Alexandre was former chief of security at the presidential palace but was forced out in 2012 under pressure from US officials and human rights groups over ties to a band of corrupt former police officers, sources said.

The new planning minister, Yves Germain Joseph, is a former senior palace official who was close to late dictator Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier who died last year.

Martelly's decision to keep the ministers of education and public health in their posts was, however, likely to be applauded by international donors who have praised them.

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