* Latest nominee is UN development expert Dr Garry Conille
* Lawmakers blocked President Martelly's two past picks
* New government needed in place for post-quake rebuilding
(Adds details, quotes)
By Joseph Guyler Delva
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Sept 16 Haitian lawmakers
approved the nomination of a U.N. development expert to serve
as prime minister on Friday, handing President Michel Martelly
a tentative victory in his third attempt to install a new head
of government in the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean nation.
The lower house of Parliament unanimously approved
Martelly's designation of Garry Conille, 45, a medical doctor
who had served as aide to former U.S. President Bill Clinton in
the latter's role as special U.N. Haiti envoy.
Conille must still be approved by the Senate. But his
approval in the lower house followed the rejection by Haitian
lawmakers in June and August of two previous nominees for
That blocked the formation of a new Haitian government for
months after Martelly, a former pop star, took office with a
promise to lift Haiti out of its misery and turn the poorest
country in the America's into a Caribbean success story.
"I thank Parliament, particularly the lower house, for the
confidence placed in me," Conille told Reuters after the
Chamber of Deputies approved his selection by a vote of 89-0.
"My will is to accompany the president in his commitment to
solve the problems facing the Haitian people and I'm ready to
serve once the process is completed."
Haiti, known for decades of dictatorship, corruption and
instability, faces a huge reconstruction task after last year's
catastrophic earthquake and a cholera epidemic.
Both houses of Haiti's Parliament are dominated by senators
and deputies whose parties fielded rival candidates to Martelly
in a turbulent two-round presidential election that he finally
won in a March run-off vote.
The rejection by lawmakers of previous picks for premier
made by Martelly, who took office on May 14, have raised
concerns among diplomats and donors who say Haiti desperately
needs a stable working government to rebuild from the quake.
Some parliamentarians had raised questions about Conille's
eligibility for the post because he spent years outside the
country, working for the United Nations. Haiti's Constitution
requires a candidate for prime minister to have spent five
consecutive years in Haiti before taking up the post.
Lawmakers said Conille's residency was not an issue,
however, since international treaties signed by Haiti allow
nationals working for the U.N. to maintain their residency.
Approval of Conille's nomination in the Senate was expected
to come next week.
Haitian authorities estimate the January 2010 earthquake
killed more than 300,000 people and wrecked much of the
Pressing tasks for the new government include effectively
fighting the cholera epidemic that has killed more than 6,000
people since October. It must also try to provide shelter for
tens of thousands of earthquake survivors who are still living
in makeshift tent camps vulnerable to hurricanes and floods.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Christopher Wilson)