Jean-Henry Ceant

Haitian President Jovenel Moise on Sunday nominated former presidential candidate Jean-Henry Ceant to be the nation’s new prime minister.

The announcement comes after the resignation of Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant, who stepped aside after a move to lower fuel subsidies prompted days of violent protests in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

At least four were killed in the violence. Ceant is a known figure in Haitian politics having run for president in 2016 and is the leader of the Renmen Ayiti political organisation.

Reactions to his nomination have been mixed.

“Regarding the nomination of Jean Henry Ceant as Prime Minister, I think it’s a decision that comes at a good time. A moment when we need a conciliatory person who can speak with all the actors to restart the blocked system. It’s been 17 months since we had a government with nearly nothing in terms of progress”, said Haitian student Valery Fils-Aime.

“It’s the same scenario, they’ll present similar policies, they’ll speak about everything. This won’t change anything. We’re dealing with a crisis, the people have already spoken, and our position is that Jovenel Moise should go”, said Chiller Louidor, a member of political opposition party (Fanmi Lavalas)

If he is approved by Haiti’s parliament, the new prime minister will take office a month after an announced reduction of fuel subsidies ignited protests during which demonstrators barricaded roads, looted stores and set cars ablaze in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

At the height of the unrest, foreign embassies in the capital closed and airlines suspended flights to Haiti for days.

Then-Prime Minster Lafontant announced a temporary reversal of the policy in a bid to quell the demonstrations, but the protests continued. He resigned before Parliament scheduled a no-confidence vote in his leadership.

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