Laurent Lamothe approved as Haiti's new prime minister


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The Independent US

Haitian politicians confirmed President Michel Martelly's choice for a new prime minister, ending a nearly two-month impasse that had hampered the country's efforts to rebuild from the devastating 2010 earthquake.

The Chamber of Deputies voted 62-3 with two abstentions for Laurent Lamothe to serve as Haiti's head of government and lead quake reconstruction efforts.

Mr Lamothe was a special adviser to Mr Martelly before being named foreign affairs minister and now is co-chairman of an economic advisory panel with former US president Bill Clinton.

Mr Lamothe's approval ends a stalemate created by the sudden resignation of the previous prime minister, Garry Conille.

His departure had hampered Mr Martelly's ability to govern and caused unease among donor governments and organisations that have pledged billions of dollars to the impoverished Caribbean nation.

In a brief interview minutes after the vote, Mr Lamothe said he would tackle Haiti's extreme poverty, rebuild public buildings that collapsed in the quake, restore the population's confidence in the government and move the 400,000-plus people displaced by the earthquake who remain in makeshift settlements.

"We have a lot of work to do now," Mr Lamothe said by telephone.

"I feel that the country finally has the opportunity to work on the people's problems. We have a lot of different issues to deal with and finally we have the team in place to start solving the people's problems."