Haiti's president names new prime minister

Haiti's president has appointed Fritz-William Michel, pictured, as his fourth head of government in his two-and-a-half years in government (AFP Photo/ALEX WONG) (GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File)

Port-au-Prince (AFP) - Haiti's President Jovenel Moise on Monday named Fritz-William Michel prime minister, following the resignation of his predecessor who failed to win parliamentary approval for his government.

Formerly an executive in the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Michel is Moise's fourth head of government in his two-and-a-half years in office.

The president made the announcement in a Monday night Twitter post, but must formalize it with an official decree.

Michel's appointment came after consultations between Moise and the leaders of the two chambers of parliament, signaling a resumption of dialogue between the three political heavyweights after months of turmoil.

Moise has had his power to appoint ministers challenged and faced calls to resign after the High Court of Auditors in May released a report saying Moise was at the center of an "embezzlement scheme" that siphoned off Venezuelan aid money meant for fixing roads.

"I am looking you right in the eye to tell you today: your president, the one you voted for, is not involved in corruption," Moise responded at an official ceremony in the capital Port-au-Prince last month.

Michel faces the tough task of restoring public confidence in Haiti's leadership.

Sixty percent of Haitians live below the poverty line, the inflation rate has risen past 18 percent and violent crime has surged.

Port-au-Prince is particularly hard-hit, with clashes between armed gangs occurring almost daily.

The United Nations in June released a report saying that at least 26 people were killed during a 2018 massacre in a slum in the capital, at which several members of the police and a government representative were allegedly present.