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After marathon session, Haiti lawmakers back new government

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 14, 2018 Senator Evaliere Beauplan debates with other colleagues during the ratification session of Prime Minister Jean Henry Ceant’s general policy in Port-au-Prince on September 14, 2018.<br />The Haitian senate on September 2018, approved the new government’s general polices, a necessary first step before it can begin functioning, two months after the last premier was forced to resign after attempting to impose unpopular austerity measures. / AFP PHOTO / Pierre Michel JEAN

Lawmakers at Haiti’s lower house voted in favor of the new government in the early hours of Sunday after a marathon session lasting more than 10 hours.

New prime minister, Jean-Henry Ceant, had responded to questions through the night before majority lawmakers demanded an end to the debate over opposition objections.

In a heated atmosphere, 84 deputies voted in favor of the new prime minister while five voted against, and four abstained.

Haiti’s Senate had approved the new government’s general policies following a more than 15-hour session that concluded early on Saturday, with it then being put to a vote of confidence at the Chamber of Deputies.

A notary by training who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2010 and 2016, Ceant was named to the post by President Jovenel Moise on August 5.

But in a sign of discord between the legislative and presidential branches, it took a month to reach agreement on his 18-member cabinet.

Tension remains high in Haiti after a series of riots against rising fuel prices gripped Port-au-Prince in July that forced the resignation of prime minister Jack Guy Lafontant.

Mass protests which turned deadly erupted on July 6 after a government unveiled major fuel price hikes — 38 percent for gasoline, 47 percent for diesel and 51 percent for kerosene.

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