Haitian president recommends second choice for prime minister

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitian President Michel Martelly has chosen a former justice minister as his nominee for prime minister in his second attempt to fill the position, a government official said Wednesday.

Bernard Gousse was chosen in the hopes that his experience and reputation as a prominent attorney will overcome opposition from lawmakers who rejected the president’s first candidate for the post, businessman Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, said Martelly’s chief of staff, Thierry Mayard-Paul.

“He’s an honest man. He has experience in public administration,” Mayard-Paul told The Associated Press. “We believe that Mr. Gousse can drive this country out of its turmoil.”

The nominee still may face a challenge winning approval from a Senate and Chamber of Deputies dominated by the opposition Unity party of former President Rene Preval.

Gousse served as justice minister under the interim government that was formed after the ouster of former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Critics accused him of persecuting supporters of Aristide, who returned to Haiti in March and remains a popular figure in the impoverished country.

Unity party Deputy Patrick Joseph said Gousse would be rejected. “The choice is a bad choice,” he said. “He won’t be ratified.”