Haitian President Jovenel Moise called for an end to violence on Saturday as he promised to quickly replace Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, who resigned earlier in the day as he faced a non-confidence vote after a move to lower fuel subsidies prompted days of violent protests in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
"Violence does not work with development and democracy. We have to cut bridges with these old practices that are putting the country behind. As head of state, I have issued instructions to every official in the state, to every person in his or her own interest, to ensure the safety of the lives and property of people across the country of Haiti," said Moise.
Earlier this month, as part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Haitian government announced a reduction of fuel subsidies that would cause a 38 percent rise in gasoline prices and 47 percent hike for diesel.
The move triggered protests during which demonstrators barricaded roads, looted stores and set cars ablaze in the capital, Port-au-Prince.
Lafontant announced a temporary reversal of the policy in a bid to quell the demonstrations, but the protests continued. Moise sought to reassure Haitians that he has firm control over the country and can build an effective government.
"I understand the situation of many compatriots: unemployment, hunger, misery. I work for them. I will continue consultations with all the institutions, the parliament, the political parties and the sectors organized in society so that I can choose another prime minister to lead the government and gather all the forces in the nation without wasting time, to form an inclusive government whose mission will be to relieve the misery of the people, develop agriculture, energy and infrastructure in the country, take all measures and actions to maintain political and social stability, encourage investment to create wealth and conditions that will allow all Haitians live better in their country," Moise said.
The now-suspended decision by Moise's government to raise prices was part of an IMF agreement, which requires the country to enact a range of austerity measures.