Monday February 15, 2016

With no sitting president, Haiti grapples with renewed political turmoil

Haiti's provisional President Jocelerme Privert greets a friend during his installation ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Feb. 14, 2016. Haitian lawmakers have chosen Privert, the country's Senate chief to lead a caretaker government that will fill the void left by the recent departure of ex-President Michel Martelly.

Haiti's provisional President Jocelerme Privert greets a friend during his installation ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Haiti on Feb. 14, 2016. Haitian lawmakers have chosen Privert, the country's Senate chief to lead a caretaker government that will fill the void left by the recent departure of ex-President Michel Martelly. (Dieu Nalio Chery/AP)

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It's been 30 years since Haiti's former dictator, Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier, was ousted and exiled, leaving a power vacuum at the top.

Last week, the country found itself, again, with no president. Michel Martelly, elected in 2011, stepped down from the presidency just over a week ago, with no elected successor in place.

A first round of elections in December were marred by allegations of fraud, sparking protests that scuttled the run-off vote. The young democracy took a step closer to getting back on track Sunday when its parliament chose an interim president. 

After a session that began Saturday night and lasted until early Sunday morning, Haiti's national assembly elected its head, Jocelerme Privert, to lead the caretaker government. A new election has been scheduled for April 24.

Climate Change Economy

Larionise Beltinor 10, sweeps the entrance of her home while her 7-month-old brother Jean Widson Beltinor crawls nearby in Bombardopolis, northwestern Haiti on March 25, 2014, as drought hits one of the hungriest, most desolate regions of the most impoverished nation in the hemisphere. (Nalio Chery/Associated Press)

But even if the country's political chaos is finally being reigned in, parliament is powerless when it comes to ending the vicious, ongoing drought that's imperilling the country.

Guests in this segment:

  • Etant Dupain is a freelance reporter who has been covering the political crisis in Haiti.
  • Jessica Pearl is the Haiti country director for the humanitarian air group Mercy Corps.
  • Jake Johnston is research associate at the Center for Economic Policy and Research.

This segment was produced by The Current's Julian Uzielli, Sujata Berry and Marino Greco.