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Lawmakers in Haiti approve U.N. development expert to serve as prime minister

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haitian lawmakers on Friday approved the nomination of a U.N. development expert to serve as prime minister, handing President Michel Martelly a tentative victory in his third attempt to install a new head of government in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.

The lower house of Parliament unanimously approved Martelly’s designation of Garry Conille, 45, a physician who had served as an aide to former U.S. president Bill Clinton in the latter’s role as special U.N. Haiti envoy.

Conille must be approved by the Senate. But his approval in the lower house followed lawmakers’ rejection of two previous nominees in June and August.

That blocked the formation of a new Haitian government for months after Martelly, a former pop star, took office with a promise to lift Haiti out of its misery and turn the poorest country in the Americas into a success story.

“I thank Parliament, particularly the lower house, for the confidence placed in me,” Conille told Reuters after the Chamber of Deputies approved his selection 89-0.

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