Haiti`s Prime Minister resigns after four months

Garry Conille`s resignation has plunged Haiti into political paralysis in the midst of rebuilding efforts 2 years after a quake.

Updated: Feb 25, 2012, 10:40 AM IST

Port-au-Prince: Haitian Prime Minister Garry Conille resigned on Friday after just four months in office, plunging the country into political paralysis in the midst of rebuilding efforts two years after a devastating earthquake.

Conille submitted his resignation in a letter to President Michel Martelly, according to a statement by the President`s office. There was no immediate word on a possible replacement.

Conille`s decision to step down came during political infighting between the two leaders over earthquake reconstruction contracts, as well as a parliamentary investigation into dual citizenship of government ministers, which is illegal under Haitian law.

Conille, a 45-year-old medical doctor and UN development expert, was popular with foreign aid donors and many members of the international community involved in Haiti`s reconstruction efforts after a January 2010 earthquake shattered the country, killing more than 200,000 people.

He previously served as chief of staff of the UN Office of the Special Envoy to Haiti, led by former US president Bill Clinton.

In a brief nationally-televised address, Martelly said he had spoken with parliamentary leaders and "we committed to meeting soon to propose a new prime minister”.

The US embassy in Haiti issued a statement calling for the "swift" appointment of a successor to ensure political stability, while expressing "regret" over Conille`s departure.

Political tensions between Martelly and Conille erupted recently after Conille announced plans to audit USD 300 million in contracts awarded by his predecessor after the earthquake.

Conille and members of his Cabinet were also under pressure to cooperate with a parliamentary commission investigating the nationalities of members of the government.

Conille and some of his aides have held jobs and lived for extended periods outside Haiti.

Critics say Conille also alienated Parliament and the President, including members of his own Cabinet, by some of his actions.

"It didn`t work from day one," said Alice Blanchet, a special adviser to five former prime ministers, including Conille`s predecessor, Jean-Max Bellerive.

Bureau Report