New Haitian PM nominated

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, April 29, 2008 – Haitian economist Ericq Pierre has been chosen to replace Jacques Edouard Alexis as Haiti’s Prime Minister, with some lawmakers describing him as a “technician” with the right experience to lead the government.

It is not the first time that Mr Pierre, who is also Haiti’s representative to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), has been put forward as candidate for Prime Minister. He was nominated for the post in 1997 when President Rene Preval was serving his first term.

Mr Preval announced Mr Pierre’s nomination on Sunday, following the April 12 ousting of Jacques Edouard Alexis for his handling of the food crisis that led to violent protests.

His selection has received support from top Haitian lawmakers.

“Ericq Pierre might not have been the right man to solve political problems because he is not a politician…But the urgent priority is to address economic and social problems and Pierre is the right man to do so as a non-politically biased technician,” Senate leader Kelly Bastien told Reuters.

President of the lower house of parliament, Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques, told Reuters he immediately agreed when Preval first told him he was considering Mr Pierre as Mr Alexis’ replacement.

“My answer was immediately yes, because I know Ericq Pierre as a patriot, an honest and competent technician,” Mr Jean-Jacques said. “Now that we, as leaders of parliament, have given our OK for Ericq Pierre, we will work at convincing other colleagues that he is he is right man.”

Mr Pierre’s appointment must be ratified by parliament.