Page last updated at 23:07 GMT, Thursday, 31 July 2008 00:07 UK

Haitian senators approve new PM

Haiti's Senate has approved the nomination of Michele Pierre-Louis as the country's new prime minister.

Ms Pierre-Louis received the approval of the lower house of parliament two weeks ago but final confirmation will require another vote by both houses.

The decision ends a three-month stalemate, after the former prime minister was dismissed for failing to manage Haiti's impoverished economy.

Ms Pierre-Louis is the third candidate to be submitted for the job.

The previous two candidates were rejected by the legislature.

Ms Pierre-Louis, 61, would be Haiti's second woman premier. She is a close friend of President Rene Preval.

She must now design a government programme and form a Cabinet that will have to be approved by both houses of parliament.

Ms Pierre-Louis studied economics in New York and airport management in France. Since 1995 she has headed Fokal, a non-governmental organization financed by US billionaire George Soros.

The previous Prime Minister, Jacques-Edouard Alexis, was sacked in April following widespread rioting over soaring food prices.

Senators said he had not done enough to increase national food production and lower the cost of living.

Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world.

Most Haitians earn no more than $2 a day, and they have struggled to feed themselves as the prices of rice, beans and fruit have risen by 50% in the last year.

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