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Haiti Prime
Minister Hit by Allegations of Lesbianism

Haiti Prime
Minister Hit by Allegations of Lesbianism

Haitian lawmakers ratified Michele Pierre-Louis to be the impoverished country's prime minister on Thursday, ending more than three months of political bickering and deadlock in Parliament.

Haitian lawmakers ratified Michele Pierre-Louis to be the impoverished country's prime minister on Thursday, ending more than three months of political bickering and deadlock in Parliament.

Haiti's senate approved Pierre-Louis to be the country's number 2 leader by a 12-0 vote, making her the second woman to become prime minister of Haiti. There were five abstentions.

The decision ends a stalemate that has left the Caribbean country unable to sign foreign aid deals, arrange an international donors' conference, or hold overdue elections for a third of the nation's senate.

The deadlock began when senators dismissed former prime minister Jacques Edouard Alexis on April 12 after a week of riots over soaring food prices left at least seven people dead and destroyed hundreds of businesses.

Lawmakers rejected President Rene Preval's first two nominees to replace the premier and repeatedly delayed votes on Pierre-Louis as they jockeyed for position in the next cabinet.

Pierre-Louis, 61, is an educator who heads a branch of billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. She was ratified by the Chamber of Deputies on July 17.

While political wrangling went on behind the scenes, public debate on Pierre-Louis's nomination centered on claims that she is gay. Many in the socially conservative nation consider homosexuality to be immoral, and clergy had denounced her.

Pierre-Louis denied the claims in a local radio interview on Wednesday. ''I have already said that it was slander and lies,'' she told Radio Caraibes. (AP)

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