A well-known public notary who twice ran unsuccessfully for president became Haiti’s newest prime minister on Sunday after the Lower Chamber of Deputies overwhelmingly approved his political program and cabinet.
Jean Henry Céant’s ratification came after both chambers of parliament held separate back-to-back marathon sessions that began Friday afternoon in the Senate and ended shortly after sunrise Sunday with the vote in the Lower Chamber. Eighty-four deputies voted overwhelmingly in favor of ratification. Five were against and four abstained.
Céant was tapped to lead Haiti’s government following the forced resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant in July after his decision to raise fuel prices by as much as 51 percent sparked widespread civil unrest, riots and caused the cancellation of international flights.
“The population cried [for help] on the 6th, 7th of July,” Céant said. “The president heard them. Parliamentarians heard them. Everybody heard them. Today the populating is awaiting all of our responses.”
Lawmakers in both chambers used the confirmation hearing to advocate for projects in their communities, asking for roads, hospitals, drinking water. But there was also plenty of frustration.
Deputies in the lower chamber accused their president, Gary Bodeau, of violating the constitution after he shut down debate over the eligibility of some of the ministers, a debate that the Senate spent seven hours on before Céant was allowed to present his political program. Continue reading