Jack Guy Lafontant resigns as Haiti Prime Minister
On Saturday, July 14, Haiti Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant declared in the lower house of Haiti's legislature: "I submitted my resignation to the president of the republic", who has "accepted my resignation". With this statement, the Prime Minister had managed to avoid a likely vote of no confidence to stepped down.
Mr. Lafontant took office less than one year and half ago, in February 2017. On Saturday, the Haitian parliament had been debating whether or not to give Lafontant a vote of confidence for more than three hours. With the resignation of the prime minister, Haiti now has no functioning government. President Jovenel Moise will need to dominate a new Prime Minister.
Haitian Prime Minister Jack Guy Lafontant resigned Saturday, on July 7, 2018, amid calls for him to step down over his handling of a failed plan to raise fuel prices. The announcement of the government's plan to raise fuel price set off a wave of deadly protests and took at least 7 lives. Lafontant resigned on second day of violent protests sparked by the now-abandoned plan to raise fuel prices. He submitted his resignation before the call of a no-confidence vote, which had the possibility to lead his removal. The prime minister is the second highest official in Haiti, after the president. While speaking in the lower house of Haiti's legislature on Saturday, he said, "Before coming here, I presented my resignation to the president of the republic."President Moise confirmed via Twitter that he had accepted Lafontant's resignation along with those of other Cabinet members.
Mr. Lafontant, a 57-year-old doctor, was relatively unknown until he was handpicked by President Jovenel Moïse 16 months ago. In this light, chamber president Gary Bodaeu wrote on his Twitter account that the legislature "is at a crossroads in history; it must assume its responsibilities."
Plan to hike the fuel price is a part of the plan to reduce subsidy under an agreement with the government with the IMF for granting a low interest loan amounting to $96 million under "Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The opposition MPs in Congress warned that if the price increases were reinstated there would be more violence and protests on the streets. On Thursday, July 12, 2018, the IMF has suggested for a more gradual approach, a step-by-step withdrawal of subsidy which will ultimately generate the exchequer a fund totaling around $300 million (£226m). The IMF said scrapping the fuel subsidies would allow more money to be spent on key areas including health and education.