PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP):
HAITI'S SENATE yesterday ratified President Rene Preval's nominee for prime minister, paving the way for his confirmation.
The nomination of Jacques Edouard Alexis, 58, who was Prime Minister during Preval's 1996-2001 presidency, was expected to be considered by the lower house of parliament on Thursday.
If confirmed, Alexis would replace interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, who was appointed to lead this impoverished Caribbean nation after an uprising ousted former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in February 2004.
Alexis received 22 votes in favor and one abstention in the 27-seat Senate, said Jean-Junior Joseph, Latortue's press secretary. Four senators did not vote.
A trained agronomist and the architect of Preval's Feb. 7 electoral victory, Alexis is considered a strong negotiator with a chance to hold sway in Haiti's splintered parliament, which includes 16 different parties, none of which hold a majority.
But while Alexis was expected to win approval from the lower house, two parties have said their deputies will not vote for him.
Acluche Louis-Jeune, a legislator with the Organisation for the People's Struggle, accused Preval on Tuesday of "returning to old political tricks" by nominating his old Prime Minister, and said his party would abstain in the vote, Radio Kiskeya reported.
Preval has not responded publicly to the comment.
After his nomination over the weekend, Alexis pledged to form "an open government" by including members from different sectors of the country's fractured society.