Haiti’s opposition parliamentarians, the minority party in President Michel Martelly’s administration, on Wednesday called on his Prime Minister to resign after Tuesday’s vote by the president to extend the term of the office by two years.
The request is the clearest split yet between the ruling coalition and the opposition, which controls the senate. A collective set of 81 senators signed the letter, a Senate source said.
Prime Minister Evans Paul did not respond to an email message Wednesday, but a spokesman in the president’s office, Lesley Fulmer, told the Haitian radio station Radio Haiti.com, that Martelly supported Paul’s proposed budget to increase in the public sector workers’ wages and also to build a school. “We are working very hard to develop the country,” Fulmer told the news station.
Paul may resign before Martelly’s planned Sept. 15 deadline for the prime minister’s proposal, and parliament could approve the change, a government official said on condition of anonymity. Paul may also leave office after the president’s approval is granted.
Martelly could offer a new prime minister who would have the support of the senate to serve until new elections can be organized.
However, the main opposition party, the opposition bloc, did not sign the letter, saying on Wednesday that it was not consulted on Paul’s proposed budget.
The prime minister’s office said Tuesday that the government was preparing a full plan to boost the salaries of civil servants, a plan the government has said would ease the corruption associated with the cash-dependent employment.
A newspaper close to the government on Wednesday said that many of the salaries paid to civil servants in recent years have been problematic, including part-time workers who received none and others who were not paid for several months.
Government spending for the first five months of this year grew by 44 percent, according to Haiti’s National Institute of Statistics and Information. The report cited, in particular, the salaries of civil servants as one of the main factors that contributed to a $2.2 billion budget deficit.
The opposition bloc had said that a ministerial spending plan, to be submitted to the assembly, would not address the government’s huge deficits in public sector spending.
Haiti has been facing increasing criticism of its administration since it extended parliament by two years on Aug. 31 to allow it to complete a plan for developing the country’s fields of iron ore, copper and possibly nickel.
Haiti’s constitution dictates that a national election is held every three years.