The Chamber of Deputies on Thursday night voted 62-3 with two abstentions to confirm Lamothe, a former special adviser to President Michel Martelly and who also served as co-chairman of an economic advisory panel with former U.S. President Bill Clinton.
During the six-hour debate in the Chamber of Deputies, broadcast live on national television, legislators discussed whether Lamothe met residency qualifications. Haiti’s constitution requires government officials to have spent five consecutive years in Haiti as well as pay taxes.
Deputy Jean Tholbert Alexis asked his allies in the chamber to vote in favour of Lamothe so the country can move forward, adding that Lamothe’s previous career in business warranted trips overseas.
“Businessmen travel a lot, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t residents of the country. For them to order goods they have to move around and that takes them out of their country.”
Lamothe’s critics charged that he hadn’t paid taxes or lived in the nation long enough to be eligible for office. One deputy suggested the required paperwork submitted to show eligibility could’ve been fraudulent.
“Any papers can be delivered by an authority but are they real?” Deputy Fritz Chery said.
Lamothe, 39, told reporters that he would tackle Haiti’s extreme poverty, rebuild public buildings that collapsed in the quake, restore the population’s confidence in the government, and move the 400,000-plus people displaced by the earthquake who remain in makeshift settlements.