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Haitian president nominates UN official as PM

(Xinhua)

15:24, September 06, 2011

SANTO DOMINGO, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Haitian President Michel Martelly has chosen UN official Garry Conille as prime minister Monday after months of disagreeing with the parliament over the makeup of his government.

Martelly announced his choice at a meeting with 58 deputies, saying that Conille met all the requirements for the position, local news service Haiti Press Network said on its website.

Doubts have emerged about whether Conille, who currently serves as Resident Coordinator and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Niger, meets all requirements for the post of prime minister, particularly the requirement of five years of consecutive residency in Haiti.

Conille denied last week that his work at the UN was an obstacle to the position for which Martelly had nominated him.

"My permanent residence is in Haiti. Working abroad for the UN, of which Haiti is a member state, is as if working for Haiti," Conille said in his first public statement after being appointed by Martelly.

Conille became Martelly's third choice after the opposition-led parliament said no to businessman Daniel-Gerard Rouzier and legal scholar Bernard Gousse.

Nearly four months after Martelly was sworn in as Haiti's president in May, the popular former singer, elected by a wide margin, has not succeeded in forming his own government.

The delay in the appointment prompted U.S. Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten and Secretary General of the Organization of American States Jose Miguel Insulza to urge the Haitian government and the parliament to elect a head of government.

Merten said the absence of a prime minister was a "disadvantage" for continued international cooperation.

Conille began his UN career in 1999 as resident coordinator of the United Nations Development Program in Haiti and later in Ethiopia.

Conille also served as bureau chief of the UN Special Envoy for Haiti, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, after the devastating earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010.

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