Haitian senators dismiss PM

Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis was removed from office by the Haitian Senate last night in a move that could imperil efforts to attract foreign investment to the impoverished country.

The vote of 18 of 29 senators to censure Ms Pierre-Louis – most voting against her were members of President Rene Preval's party – also meant the cabinet was dissolved.

Debate went on for more than nine hours, with senators storming out of the room, accusing each other of carrying weapons.

Ms Pierre-Louis took office in September 2008 and filled a post that had been vacant for five months after senators, again, dismissed her predecessor.

She refused to attend a Senate meeting on Thursday, saying in a letter that the result was a foregone conclusion. Several senators denounced her for not attending, and a special vote had to be taken to allow the censure to take place in her absence. "It is an insult that she decided not to come," said one senator. Ms Pierre-Louis explained her decision in a letter to Kelly Bastien, the Senate Presiden.

In the past five years Haiti has ousted one president and gone through four prime ministers although the exact nature of the challenge against Ms Pierre-Louis is not clear.