Haiti’s president René Preval turned Friday to a member of his former prime minister’s freshly dissolved Cabinet to replace her, a day after Michelle Pierre-Louis was abruptly removed by the Senate in a vote that reflects the country’s deep political divisions. Jean-Max Bellerive, the minister of planning and external cooperation, is Preval’s nominee to be Haiti’s next premier.
Bellerive, an economist, has held a variety of government posts over the past decade, including as an official in the administration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who was forced from office in a violent rebellion in 2004. Bellerive, in Preval’s government, has played a major role in coordinating and courting investment and foreign aid for the country. Preval’s nomination must be ratified by the Senate.
It was the Senate that voted early Friday to oust Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis amid a power struggle that threatens to undermine the campaign to attract foreign investment to the impoverished country. Pierre-Louis was removed when 18 of 29 senators voted for censure and dissolved the Cabinet. Most of the votes against the prime minister came from President Rene Preval’s own Lespwa movement, which took control of the Senate after winning June elections. Critics accused Pierre-Louis of failing to do enough to alleviate poverty, though the vote also reflects a struggle among senators for leadership roles as some position themselves for possible runs for president next year. “She doesn’t have social and economic policies. It’s the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank that are making economic decisions,” said Sen. Joseph Lambert.
In the past five years, politically tumultuous Haiti has gone through five prime ministers in addition to ousting Aristide. Pierre-Louis’ removal comes as former U.S. President Bill Clinton, a U.N. special envoy to Haiti, has been trying to assure international investors that the country has regained stability.
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