Haiti’s Opposition Rejects New Prime Minister

Haiti’s newly appointed Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Friday March 6, 2020 – Even as Haiti’s newly appointed Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe called for people on both sides of the political divide to put their differences aside, the opposition made it clear it would not recognize him.

When he was sworn in on Wednesday, two days after it was announced he had been appointed by presidential decree, Jouthe called on the political class and international organizations to stand by him at a time of economic crisis.

“The political government leaders and the opposition are all my friends. I ask for a truce. Gentlemen, I don’t want any more disorder in the country,” he said.

But André Michel, spokesman for the opposition Democratic and Popular Movement rejected the call, describing Jouthe as a “de facto” Prime Minister since he had not been ratified by Parliament.

Far from playing nice, Michel added that “it is now that the fight begins” against the Government.

But the United States Embassy in Haiti said in a statement it would work with both President Jovenel Moïse and Jouthe but urged them to improve security and economic growth, and organize “free, fair and credible legislative elections as soon as technically feasible”.

President Moïse had called on Jouthe – the fifth prime minister he has named since taking office – to form, as soon as possible, “a government of openness and consensus, capable of responding to the urgencies of the moment”.

Jouthe, a trained civil engineer, had been Minister of Economy and Finance, as well as Environment Minister in the Cabinet of his predecessor, Jean-Michel Lapin, who was acting prime minister since being appointed him in March last year until his resignation in July.

Before serving as Minister, Jouthe worked in the Office of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant as Special Adviser for special projects, public works and public procurement (2017-2018).

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