Former Bill Clinton aide nominated for post of Haiti PM

Former Bill Clinton aide nominated for post of Haiti PM

Saturday, September 03, 2011

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (CMC) — President Michel Martelly has made his third attempt at getting legislators to accept his nomination of a prime minister three months after he took office in this French speaking Caribbean Community (Caricom) country.

Martelly has nominated Garry Conille, a former top aide to former US President Bill Clinton, as he desperately seeks to get a government in place.

The failure to install a prime minister has put reconstruction efforts from last year's devastating earthquake on hold.

The Senate had earlier this year rejected economist and businessman Daniel Rouzier for the post, and in August voted by a 16-14 margin against former justice minister Bernard Gousse, who was accused of prosecuting supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Conille, 45, is likely to meet with Opposition legislators whom political observers say are likely to raise questions over his eligibility because he has not lived in Haiti for five consecutive years, a constitutional requirement for the post.

But the president is likely to counter that argument by saying that Conille, who was an aide to Clinton in his work as the UN special envoy for Haiti, is exempt from the residency requirement because he has been working for the United Nations.

Conille began his career with the UN in 1999 and served in Ethiopia and, until June, in Niger. He is a seasoned development worker and holds a master's degree from the University of North Carolina and a doctorate from the State University of Haiti.

After last year's earthquake, Conille worked as chief of staff for Clinton in his position as UN special envoy. The former US leader also is co-chairman of the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission, which is in charge of coordinating earthquake reconstruction efforts.

If approved as prime minister, Conille would assume responsibilities as the other co-chairman on the reconstruction panel, which has drawn heavy criticism for making little visible progress since the January 2010 disaster.

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