Haiti’s President Suffers Another Defeat

Haiti’s President Suffers Another Defeat

President Michel Martelly’s second choice for prime minister is rejected.

Published August 3, 2011

It was a terrible case of déjà vu for Haitian President Michel Martelly Tuesday.


That afternoon, for the second time, Haitian lawmakers handed President Michel Martelly another defeat by rejecting his nominee for prime minister.


After a debate, 16 senators (who had dubbed themselves the “Group of 16”) voted against the confirmation of Bernard Gousse, who once served as the nation’s justice minister, while the rest of the Senate chose not to vote, the Associated Press reports.


So, after three months, the nation’s No. 2 position remains vacant, severely affecting the nation’s ability to move forward with reconstruction and improving its dismal economy about a year and a half after the devastating earthquake.


Back in June, Martelly’s first pick, Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, a businessman who like the president was a newcomer to the political scene, was rejected because of issues surrounding his citizenship and taxes, the news service reports.


Gousse, with his former position in government, certainly didn’t lack political experience. But his past is precisely what rubbed lawmakers the wrong way.


While serving as justice minister under the interim government formed after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in 2004, critics allege he persecuted Aristide supporters. Aristide returned to the nation this year after seven years of exile in Africa and, even now, remains a popular figure in the country amongst many.


Martelly was pretty optimistic Gousse would be approved, nevertheless. But shortly after he announced the nod, a group of 16 senators banded together in opposition of Gousse. During Tuesday’s debate, they challenged his qualifications, including whether he has documentation showing a clean record during his time in office, the AP reports.


So, once again, it’s back to the drawing board for Martelly, already facing mounting pressure for not being able to deliver on campaign promises during his short tenure.


In addition to signaling instability to potential foreign investors, not having a prime minister also delays the administration from installing a Cabinet.


The once popular singer and candidate can’t seem to catch a break as president.   


Written by Hortense M. Barber


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