Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Haiti Edges Toward Ending Four-Month Government Impasse

By Joseph Guyler Delva

New Haitian Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters):The lower house of parliament approved a formal policy declaration from Haiti's new prime minister on Friday, as lawmakers moved to end an impasse that began in April when the previous government was ousted over food price riots.

Haiti's Senate and lower house both approved the nomination of economist Michele Pierre-Louis as prime minister last month, tentatively clearing way for her to replace outgoing Jacques Edouard Alexis and form a new government in the impoverished Caribbean country.

But Pierre-Louis was required to appear before both legislative chambers in separate sessions to present a detailed policy plan before taking office.

Her appearance in the lower house, late Friday, was delayed by weeks of political infighting and squabbling over positions of power in the new government, analysts said.

Pierre-Louis emerged from the session triumphant, with 70 deputies approving her government platform. Only one lawmaker voted against her, while eight abstained.

A vote in the Senate, where President Rene Preval's third choice for prime minister could face stiffer opposition, is expected to take place as early as Tuesday.

Before her nomination to replace Alexis, Pierre-Louis served as the director of a foundation that provides libraries, youth education programs and women's networks in the impoverished Caribbean country.

Alexis was fired by the Senate in April after violence triggered by soaring food prices and living costs that took at least seven lives.

"My priorities will be national production, particularly food production, job creation, security and the establishment of an environment favorable to national and foreign investment," Pierre-Louis told reporters.

"We have to urgently deal with the food crisis, the high cost of living and provide social alternatives for the most vulnerable."

No comments:

Post a Comment