HAVANA, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The Haitian Senate has ratified Eric Pierre's prime minister nomination, parliament sources said Thursday, according to news reaching here from Port-Au-Prince.
The Senate voted 17-0 with two abstentions Wednesday night around two weeks after Haitian President Rene Preval named Pierre, a senior adviser with the Washington-based Inter-American Development Bank, to head the cabinet.
Pierre's appointment will not become final until he is approved by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the parliament. There was no immediate word on the date for the expected lower house voting.
If his nomination wins parliament's approval, Pierre, 63, a Haitian economist, will replace Jacques Edouard Alexis, who was forced to resign on April 12 over rocketing food and fuel prices that sparked violent demonstrations, to be the prime minister.
In 1997, the economist was nominated by Preval as prime minister following Rosny Smarth's resignation, but the Congress rejected the nomination as Pierre failed to provide the birth certificate documents of his grandmother or grandfather to establish their Haitian nationality.
In early April, thousands of Haitians took to the streets to protest against the country's high inflation rate and food shortages. At least six people died in related violence, including a Nigerian soldier from the 9,000-member UN peacekeeping force.
It was the first major political crisis since Preval was elected head of state of this Caribbean island country in February2006, after two years of domestic turmoil.
Preval also served as president from 1996 to 2001. In his first term, he spent some 21 months putting together a new cabinet after Smarth's resignation in June 1997.