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President stays on pending election

Haitian president Rene Preval will stay in office for three more months as his country chooses a successor in a delayed election, his chief of staff said.

Chief of Staff Fritz Longchamp confirmed Mr Preval's exit date of May 14 following uncertainty about the Haitian leader's plans.

Mr Preval's term had been scheduled to end on Monday, but his successor will not be elected until Haiti holds a presidential run-off on March 20.

He had been silent about his intentions in recent days, leading to rumours that he might appoint a temporary successor.

"He will stay in office until May 14," Mr Longchamp said.

An emergency law passed by members of Mr Preval's former party in an expiring Senate allows him to remain in office for up to three more months because his 2006 inauguration was delayed.

The US and other nations had signalled they agreed with Mr Preval staying in office for a few months past the end of his term to avoid a power vacuum in Haiti, where foreign governments have collectively spent billions on recovery efforts after last year's devastating earthquake - and pledged billions more for reconstruction.


From Belfast Telegraph