Haiti: Prime Minister Lafontant Quits After Fuel-Price Protests

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Haiti’s Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant has resigned ahead of a crucial vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies.

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Haiti: IMF Insists On Fuel Hikes As Political Crisis Deepens

"I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic" who has "accepted my resignation," Lafontant said on Saturday in the lower house of Haiti’s legislature.

Late Saturday, on his personal Twitter page, Lafontant posted: "I gave the president my resignation this morning before I went down to the House of Representatives. I was glad to serve my country. I’m here and I will be, to small and great, saying ‘Haiti.’"

 

The resignation, accepted by President Jovenel Moise, comes as the country struggles to recover from a recent bout of violence prompted by fuel-price hikes imposed as part of a deal with the International Monetary Fund.

Lafontant informed parliament of his decision as deputies were preparing to cast their ballots in an interpellation session on Saturday. A new prime minister will now be selected by President Moise and the two heads of parliament. 

On July 6, the Haitian government announced an increase of 38 percent in gasoline prices, 27 percent in diesel prices and 51 percent in kerosene, but protests brought the process to a halt.

At least seven people were killed and dozens of businesses were looted or destroyed during three days of demonstrations. 

Lafontant, who took office in February 2017, later announced the plan would not go ahead, but protesters still demanded his resignation.

The IMF stressed that eliminating subsidies on fuel could liberate resources to finance social services and programs, but Haitians oppose the elimination fearing an increase in fuel prices will translate into an increase in all other goods.  

According to the World Bank, almost 60 percent of Haiti’s population lives below the national poverty line and 24 percent below the extreme poverty line.

The elimination of subsidies on oil derivatives is part of an agreement Haiti signed with the IMF in February to access a three-year, US$69.7 million loan program.

Other conditions imposed by the IMF include cutting Haiti’s fiscal deficit to 3.25 percent of GDP. Last year, the fiscal deficit was 7.5 percent of GDP. 



Source

Latin America News

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