After nearly ten hours of debate on Thursday, Haiti’s Senate voted by a simple majority to remove Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis from office. She did not attend the special session where 18 of 29 Senators voted against her.
Appointed by President René Préval in September 2008, the Prime Minister has been criticized for her lack of political leadership and alleged involvement in corruption. Expectations for Haiti’s future had been further raised with the appointment of former President Bill Clinton as United Nations Special Envoy to Haiti in May.
But the vote was not without controversy. Senators supporting Pierre-Louis called the session unconstitutional and cited Article 107 of the Haitian Constitution. “If a special session is held in the Senate, Senators are under the strict obligation of respecting the agenda established by the government,” according to Senator Rudy Hérivaux.
During her tenure, Pierre-Louis had mainly focused on consolidating international support after the series of tropical storms that killed nearly 800 people last year. President Préval is said to be replacing her by Minister of Planning and External Cooperation Jean-Max Bellerive, who will have to be ratified by the National Assembly.