Jack Guy Lafontant resigns as Haiti Prime Minister
Mr. Lafontant took office less than one year and half ago, in February 2017. On Saturday, the Haitian parliament had been debating whether or not to give Lafontant a vote of confidence for more than three hours. With the resignation of the prime minister, Haiti now has no functioning government. President Jovenel Moise will need to dominate a new Prime Minister.
During the interpellation session at the Chamber of Deputies, Haitian parliament on July 14, 2018, Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant admitted his submission of resignation to the President Jovenel Moise earlier in the day. His resignation came amid protests of unpopular fuel price rise by 38% to 51% which he failed to handle. Lafontant's announcement on Friday, July 6, 2018, immediately triggered days of violent civil unrest. Three people were killed on Friday. Deadly riot broke out across the country. On Saturday, when Prime Minister Lafontant was asked to clarify the consequences of his announcement on oil price hike, instead of facing the question, he took the opportunity to resign and said "Before coming here, I presented my resignation to the president of the republic." President Moise confirmed via Twitter that he had accepted Lafontant's resignation along with those of other Cabinet members. Mr. Lafontant faced a potential vote of no confidence had he not resigned -- something he previously insisted he would not do.
The announcement to rise in fuel price is actually a part of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, which the Haitian government signed last February for sanctioning a low interest loan from IMF amounting to $96 million under "Staff-Monitored Program (SMP)." Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor had little experience in politics before he took the Prime Minister's office in February 2017. He underscored the significance of fuel price hikes by saying that they were needed for Haiti to balance its budget. However, the government suspended the fuel price increases after protests erupted.
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