Bellerive nominated for Haiti prime minister

The Haitian Senate unanimously approved a longtime technocrat as prime minister Friday, hoping that a man with long ties to Haiti's political power brokers and the international community can lead this nation through its fifth change of cabinets in five years.

Planning Minister Jean-Max Bellerive is a political survivor who has held different jobs with at least 10 different administrations, including the military junta, both presidential terms of exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, both terms of President René Préval and the interim government that came to power following Aristide's 2004 ouster.

He says he's managed to keep his name clean by keeping his head down, sticking to the task at hand and knowing who he answers to.

"I want to believe it's because I have kept some ethics, that I've stayed in a certain frame of mind, I've accepted positions for which I was competent," he told The Miami Herald in an interview. "And the position was in sync with the morals I believe we should have in politics."

The lower chamber of Congress votes on his candidacy Saturday, and he is poised to present his Cabinet next week. He will replace Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis, who was ousted last week in a debate over not moving fast enough to solve Haiti's problems.

The question is not whether Bellerive, 51 -- a respected member of the fired Cabinet -- will be ratified. It's whether the father of two daughters who is fluent in four languages has the political stamina to maneuver through the turbulent waters that lie ahead and avoid the fate that toppled Pierre-Louis. "He's never been a candidate for any higher office, but he was always indispensable to all the people he served," said Marc Bazin, a longtime friend and official in several Haitian governments.

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