Haiti has been left divided after Michel Martelly stepped down as president on Sunday, leaving the country in the hands of a disputed interim government. Meanwhile, the first day of Carnival celebrations has been canceled as violent protests broke out.
This event comes after what should have been a day of celebrations and festivities which would have marked a newly elected president, as well as the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship and the start of the Caribbean country’s Carnival.
Riot police and protesters clashed and Martelly handed back the presidential sash without anyone to take over the affairs of the nation.
Weeks of unrest set off by a first-round election that critics say was fraudulent meant the impoverished nation was unable to hold a runoff to chose a new president before Martelly’s term ended.
Under a last-minute agreement welcomed by Washington and other foreign powers, parliament is due to choose a temporary president in the next few days. Elections are set for April 24 and the winner would take office in May.
But there is a major catch. A group of eight losing candidates from the first round rejected the notion of parliament choosing the interim president, and called instead for a Supreme Court judge to lead the process.