Friday, September 5, 2008

Haiti Finally Gets A New Government

By Reuters

Haitian lawmakers have finally approved the installation of a new government to replace the one dismissed in April over violent food price protests in the impoverished Caribbean country.

Initially only 15 senators voted late last night to approve the program of recently appointed prime minister Michele Pierre-Louis, with two abstentions, but the economist needed at least 16 favorable votes in the Senate in order to get to work.

Government supporters refused to accept the initial result and called a break in the middle of the night to persuade one of the abstainers, Sen. Joseph Pierre-Louis, to change his vote. The overnight session and votes were carried live on Haitian television and radio.

The vote ended a five-month impasse that began when senators censured and dismissed the government of Prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis.

Alexis was fired because of violence triggered by soaring food prices and living costs took at least seven lives. The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti's misery has deepened in recent weeks because of an onslaught by three successive tropical storms and hurricanes that have killed more than 200 people.

Lawmakers rejected two of President Rene Preval's suggested replacements as prime minister before voting in favor of Pierre-Louis, director of a foundation that provides libraries, youth education programs and women's networks.

But Pierre-Louis was required to appear before both legislative chambers in separate sessions to present a detailed policy plan before taking office. That process was delayed by weeks of political infighting and squabbling over positions of power in the new government.

Pierre-Louis has said her priorities will be food production, job creation, security and the establishment of an environment favorable to national and foreign investment.

Source: Independent.Co.Uk

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