New PM faces ratification process

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: The Senate is expected to ratify the replacement for ousted former Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis this week.

President René Préval has named Jean Max Bellerive, who was the Planning and External Cooperation Minister before Pierre-Louis was fired and her Cabinet dissolved, to fill the vacant post.

Senate President Kelly Bastien said it would likely be swiftly approved “so as not to create a political vacuum” and that the Senate will be convened this week for the ratification.

“The whole process should be completed before November 18,” Bastien said.

Pierre-Louis was ousted by the Senate last Friday by a vote of 29-18, after less than a year in office over what lawmakers said was her failure to promote economic recovery on the heels of four storms which devastated Haiti last year.

Despite being summoned by the Senate to answer questions about US$197 million earmarked to help Haiti recover from the storms, Pierre-Louis was not in attendance at the vote.

Instead, she sent a letter to Senate President Kelly Bastien explaining her absence.

“At a time when efforts are under way for Haiti to join the international community and it has possibilities of investment, national and international, to better the lives of the Haitian population…my government decides not to participate in this hearing,” Pierre-Louis wrote. “I leave the senators of the republic to face their responsibility in front of the nation.”

Several senators criticized Pierre-Louis for not attending and a special vote had to be taken to allow the vote to take place in her absence.

Pierre-Louis filled the post of Prime Minister five months after her predecessor, Jacques-Édouard Alexis, was dismissed by the Senate during riots over the high cost of food.

She was the third person nominated for the job, after two of Préval’s nominees were rejected by the Senate.

 

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