Haitian leader quits without successor

Martelly says goodbye after a ceremony marking the end of his presidential term, at the Haitian Parliament in Port-au-Prince, HaitiImage copyright

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President Martelly has stepped down without a successor in place

Haiti’s President Michel Martelly has stepped down at the end of his term amid tension over how he is to be replaced.

No successor has yet been chosen as opposition supporters challenge a deal to select an interim leader.

The first day of carnival has been called off over the threat of more opposition protests.

Haiti, the western hemisphere’s poorest country, is still struggling to recover from a devastating earthquake in 2010.

The last-minute deal aims to prevent the country from plunging into an immediate power vacuum.

In a speech, Mr Martelly said his biggest regret was that January’s presidential election had been postponed.

The runoff vote to elect his successor was shelved because of fears of violence and allegations of fraud.

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Riot police were out ion the capital on Sunday

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Haiti has seen violent unrest over the election

It will now be held on April 24, with a new president due to be sworn in on 14 May.

Under the latest agreement, parliament will elect an interim president and install a transitional government for a four-month term.

Mr Martelly is constitutionally barred from seeking re-election but has thrown his weight behind Jovenel Moise, a banana exporter who won the first round of the presidential election in November.

But the result has been contested by the opposition challenger, Jude Celestin.

He accused the electoral authorities of favouring Mr Moise and threatened to pull out of the runoff vote.

Prime Minister Evans Paul – who is due to remain in his post until parliament agrees his replacement – has appealed for calm.

On Friday, protesters beat a man to death in the capital, Port-au-Prince, in a clash with ex-soldiers.

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