Haiti interim president appoints prime minister to help organize election

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Haiti’s provisional president has appointed reputable economist Fritz Jean as the new prime minister, a senior official said, in a step forward for the impoverished Caribbean nation that is trying to quickly hold a delayed presidential election.

Anthony Barbier, a top official at President Jocelerme Privert’s palace, said the president had signed an executive order appointing Jean, a former central bank governor.

“I can confirm that President Privert has signed the executive order appointing Fritz Alphonse Jean as prime minister,” Barbier told Reuters.

Jean’s job will include helping create a balanced election council supported by Haiti’s fractious rival political parties, a key step needed to hold the election set for April.

A runoff election due on Jan. 24 was canceled amid violent protests, and after the opposition candidate said he would not take part because of widespread fraud in the first round.

Privert is meant to hand over power to an elected president in May.

(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel)