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New Haitian prime minister nominated

Haitian president Rene Preval designated Michele Pierre-Louis as his new prime minister, after the Haitian parliament turned down two other candidates in the past month amid violent food protests.

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Haitian President Rene Preval has put forward a new candidate for prime minister after parliament rejected his two previous choices to replace a government leader fired over violent food price protests, the Senate leader said on Monday.

 

The nominee is economist Michele Pierre-Louis, Senate President Kelly Bastien said.

 

"I think this country urgently needs a new prime minister, a new government. We are going to work in Parliament to speedily study her documents to determine her eligibility," Bastien told Reuters. "We'll see what the assembly decides."

 

Pierre-Louis has been the director of FOKAL, a foundation that provides libraries, youth education programs and women's networks in Haiti. It is supported by George Soros' Open Society Institute.

 

If confirmed, she would be Haiti's second woman prime minister.

 

Lawmakers in the impoverished Caribbean nation rejected Preval's last two nominees, dealing a blow to his efforts to establish a stable democracy in a land that has known little but political upheaval and dictatorship since French rule ended in a slave revolt more than 200 years ago.

 

Preval's first prime minister, Edouard Alexis, was fired by the Senate in April after violent protests against food prices and the rapidly escalating cost of living in the poorest country in the Americas.

 

Preval has faced increasing criticism since the food riots and his first candidate to succeed Alexis, Inter-American Development Bank official Ericq Pierre, was rejected by Parliament in May. Deputies who voted against him said he had failed to provide proof required under the constitution that he was descended from native-born Haitians.

 

Preval's last nominee, longtime friend and adviser Robert Manuel, was rejected this month by lawmakers who said he failed to meet the constitution's requirement to live in the country for five consecutive years prior to taking office. Manuel had been forced to abandon his homeland for political reasons in 1999 and only returned in late 2005.

 
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