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Haiti Gets First Female Premier

October 24, 1995| Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has picked Foreign Minister Claudette Werleigh to become Haiti's first female prime minister.

Werleigh, 49, is to replace Smarck Michel, who resigned Oct. 16 over widespread opposition to his economic reforms.

Chamber of Deputies President Fritz Robert St. Paul said Monday that Aristide picked Werleigh after consulting Sunday with leaders of both houses of Parliament. Her appointment is not expected to encounter opposition from lawmakers, who must approve it.

Aristide, elected in December, 1990, was ousted in a September, 1991, coup. A U.S.-led multinational force dislodged the military rulers who replaced him and restored Aristide to power one year ago.

In January, international donors pledged $1.2 billion in aid but set a condition that most Haitians found repugnant: that the government sell off nine state-owned enterprises. Michel devised a privatization plan to get the desperately needed money. But his acquiescence to the donors' demand made him unpopular with the poor.

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