Haiti's prime minister has resigned to clear the way for a temporary government to replace outgoing President Michel Martelly, who has no successor after a botched election, but the plan was quickly rejected by opposition parties on Tuesday.
Martelly, who heads Haiti's government, is due to leave office on Sunday. A Jan. 24 run-off to choose his successor was canceled after sometimes violent protests erupted against what the opposition said was fraud in the first round.
Under a proposal drawn up by Martelly and parliamentary leaders, Prime Minister Evans Paul's replacement would be chosen by consensus and approved by parliament this week, government-allied lawmaker Gary Bodeau said.
Bodeau said the new prime minister would rule jointly with a council of ministers after Martelly, a former singer known as "Sweet Micky" leaves office and until new elections were organized by May.
But run-off candidate Jude Celestin's party and other opposition groups want an interim government to be organized by a Supreme Court judge, and a spokesman said Paul's resignation would not break the impasse.
"We reject the current initiative by Martelly and Parliament. It is a joke," said Samuel Madistin, the spokesman for a group of eight opposition parties.
Celestin refused to take part in the January vote, which he called "a farce." The impoverished Caribbean nation has been trying since the 1980s to build a stable democracy in the wake of the decades-long rule of the Duvalier family.
Senator Carl Murat Cantave, a government ally, said Martelly had proposed three possible interim prime ministers, including Paul, an option unlikely to be accepted by the opposition. Senator Andris Riche and businessman Reynold Deeb also were put forward, Cantave said.
"They are allies of Martelly and we don't want them. This initiative is null and void," said Volcy Assad, from the Petit Desalin party that is organizing street protests.
The opposition said elections cannot be organized under Martelly, or Paul, who was considered to be part of the president's administration.
Paul wrote his resignation letter on Monday, a senior source in his office told Reuters. A second government source said Martelly had now received it.
The United States, which spent some $33 million on the election, fears an interim government might linger for years, leaving Haiti without a democratically elected president, a situation that the country has suffered in the past.