Jean Michel Lapin Is Haiti’s New Prime Minister

(TELESUR) – Haitian President Jovenel Moise announced Tuesday that after consulting with the leaders of both Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, he has decided to appoint interim premier Jean Michel Lapin as the official new head of government.

The elected candidate must now be ratified by the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies and in case of rejection, the procedure will begin again.

Lapin was appointed interim prime minister on March 21, after 93 deputies out of 103 voted in favor of removing Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant, making him the third PM who has held the post since President Moise took office in 2017.

He began his public career in 1988 as an public servant in the Ministry of Public Health, then served as an administrator in the National Library of Haiti (1989-2007), until February 2007 when moved to the Ministry of Culture, to later become Minister of that entity, as well as director of the National Institute of Music of Haiti.

As interim PM and under his government, Haiti’s Lower House approved on March 26 a salary increase project to raise the minimum wages for workers from 420 gourdes (about US$ 5.25) to 750 gourdes (US$ 9.38) per day.

After the announcement, private sector representatives threaten to fire over 60,000 workers if the bill goes through, ensuring that this measure will not generate social ease. Trade union groups are also not satisfied as they consider it insufficient due to the high cost of living and the increase in the basic basket. Since 2018 they have requested an increase to US$ 12.5 dollars per day.

However other worker’s representatives point out that the increase will be a break amid the tense economic situation in the country. Haiti has been going through a serious political and social crisis since Feb. 2019 with vast protests engulfing cities across the country.

The majority of protesters are demonstrating against the lack of improvement in basic living conditions, for which the President has been blamed. Protestors are also denouncing a decrease in purchasing power and corruption.