October 29, 2020

Haiti PM resignation threatens reconstruction


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In this Oct. 6, 2011 file photo, Haiti's Prime Minister Garry Conille attends a press conference in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille abruptly resigned Friday after less than five months on the job in a political setback for President Michel Martelly, whose struggle to fill the top government post has hampered earthquake reconstruction and other development efforts.

The government announced Conille’s resignation in a brief statement and said Martelly would address the nation in a live, televised speech later Friday. The president did not immediately announce his proposed replacement for the top administrative post in the government.

“I feel obliged to present to you my resignation as Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of Haiti,” Conille wrote in a typed letter that was addressed to the president. “Please accept, Mr. President Of The Republic, the assurance of my patriotic sentiments.”

Conille’s resignation, which came after weeks of rumours of strife between him and other officials in the administration and in Parliament, poses a new challenge to a government struggling to rebuild much of the capital and surrounding region after a devastating January 2010 earthquake. The government has also sought to address the widespread poverty and weak civic structure that have long been hallmarks of the country.

The president of Haiti’s Senate, Simon Dieuseul Desras, warned that the loss of the prime minister would create a political vacuum.

“This is not what the population was waiting for, that the National Palace and president’s office are in conflict,” Desras told The Associated Press at Parliament. “Today is a waste of time. We must start all over again and we don’t know how long it will take to have another prime minister again.”

At least two candidates were being considered as a replacement, including Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Lamothe and Ann-Valerie Milfort, the interim head of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information.

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