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Haitian President names Ericq Pierre as prime minister
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12:31, April 28, 2008

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Haitian President Rene Preval Sunday appointed Ericq Pierre, a senior adviser with the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank, as the country's prime minister, according to news reaching here from Port-Au-Prince.

Pierre, 63, a Haitian economist, replaces head of cabinet Jacques Edouard Alexis, who was forced to resign on April 12 over rocketing food and fuel prices that sparked violent demonstrations.

Pierre's appointment must be ratified by Haiti's parliament, and it was not known yet when lawmakers would take up the matter.

Pierre has to provide copies of the birth certificate of his grandmother or grandfather to establish their Haitian nationality, if he wants to secure approval from the legislature.

In 1997, the economist was nominated by Preval as prime minister following Rosny Smarth's resignation, but the congress rejected the nomination as Pierre failed to provide the birth certificate documents.

Local Haitian news reports said that Preval met Pierre Sunday at the presidential residence to discuss such issues as the documents he must present to prove his nationality.

In early April thousands of Haitians took to the streets to protest against the country's high inflation rate and food shortages. At least six people died in related violence, including a Nigerian soldier with the 9,000-member UN peacekeeping force.

It was the first major political crisis since Preval was elected head of state of this Caribbean island country in February2006, after two years of domestic turmoil.

Preval also served as president from 1996 to 2001. In his first term, he spent some 21 months pulling together a new cabinet after Smarth's resignation in June 1997.


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