Conflicts & War

Haitian opposition names top judge as interim president

Port-au-Prince, Feb 8 (efe-epa).- Haitian opposition parties and civil organizations have named judge Joseph Mécène Jean-Louis as their chosen interim president as part of a bid to oust the incumbent president Jovenel Moïse, whose term they claim has already ended.

In a video statement, Mécène, 72, said that he accepted “the choice of the opposition and civil society, to serve my country as interim president for the transition.” He is the longest-serving judge at the Court of Cassation (Supreme Court), the highest court in the country’s legal system.

Earlier in the day, the justice minister, Rockefeller Vincent, told local radio that the government would arrest any interim president named by the opposition.

This appointment comes a day after Moïse said another Supreme Court judge had organized a plot to carry out a coup against him. Moïse insists that his term is due to end in 2022 but opposition groups claim his mandate is over.

Judge Ivickel Dabrésil of the top court was arrested on Saturday, as was Police Inspector General Marie Louise Gauthier, and about 20 other people.

In Haiti, presidential terms last for five years and always start on February 7, after elections.

Moïse addressed the nation on Sunday in a recorded message on social media, said that he would not resign until next year, and called for a dialogue with his opponents.

Meanwhile, various political parties and opposition organizations condemned the arrest of 20 people by security officers during the process of thwarting the coup attempt since Saturday.

A large police deployment was stationed outside the Supreme Court in Port-au-Prince on Monday morning but almost all activity, from schooling to business, was closed down for the day amid the ongoing political uncertainty.

The opposition staged protests in the capital and other Haitian cities on Sunday, in which hundreds of people took part and were dispersed by police.

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