some in the crowd shouted, "Long Live Aristide, we are hungry."

Agent-x - May 14 2012, 11:12 PM

According Bellingham Herald-com on May 14, 2012 by JACQUELINE CHARLES, Haiti's parliament votes in a new government.

Haiti ended another prolonged period of political uncertainty Monday as the country marked the end of President Michel Martelly's first year in office by ushering in a new government.

Lawmakers in the lower chamber of deputies voted 70-6 with three abstentions in favor of new Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe's political program and 22-member government.

The vote came after a blackout and one day to the day that Martelly took the oath of office, also in a blackout.

"This vote is historic," said Lamothe, acknowledging the coincidence, and calling on lawmakers to join him to help change Haiti.

Lamothe is Martelly's fourth pick for prime minister, and only the second to be ratified by the parliament.

The vote Monday was the final step in the four-vote ratification process, and ended nearly three months of a political vacuum created with the resignation of former Prime Minister Garry Conille after only four months on the job.

Earlier in the day, Martelly commemorated his first year by relighting the "eternal flame" of the monument of the "Unknown Slave" or "Negre Marron." The bronze statue, across from the National Palace, was commissioned by former dictator Francois Duvalier and has long symbolized Haiti's slave revolt, its break from bondage.

Martelly, joined by his wife, Sophia, later laid a wreath of purple and red flowers at the feet of the statue.

As they did so, the couple were greeted by both cheers and jeers, as some in the crowd shouted, "Long Live Aristide, we are hungry." (Jean-Bertrand Aristide served as Haiti's first democratically elected president.)

"We are not yet buried, but we are dead. Misery is killing us here," said Mano Louis, 30, who lives in Bel-Aire.

"We are hungry."

Roberson Mathieu, 19, meanwhile, said he welcomed the president's determination "to change things in Haiti and (create) jobs. We need work."

For days, Haitians have been debating what Martelly has come to call his year of "realizations." Among his success is the Champ de Mars, the public plaza across from the broken National Palace, where the statue is located and not far from the new gymnasium he inaugurated.

Once home to 20,000 quake victims in tents, the plaza is nearly empty thanks to a relocation program sponsored by the Canadian government.

While Martelly's detractors questioned the lighting of the statue, calling it a throwback to Duvalierism, Martelly said it holds deeper symbolism than the president who commissioned it. The flame, like the statue, symbolizes the rebirth of Haitians and Haiti, something his government is pushing for, he said.

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Cornelius Agrippa says...

Jean Pierre Alexandre and his mother were among the people that thundered "Long Live Aristide, we are hungry." This was done in accordance of... more »