Haiti may have new prime minister within 30 days

CARTAGENA, Colombia, (Reuters) – Haiti’s foreign minister Laurent Lamothe said he could be fully approved as the country’s new prime minister within 30 days, potentially ending a political stalemate that has threatened to limit reconstruction after the 2010 earthquake.

The country has been without a prime minister since February when the last incumbent resigned amid disputes with President Michel Martelly over earthquake reconstruction contracts.

That sparked concerns in the international community that political infighting could slow efforts to rebuild a nation that lost as many as 300,000 people in the disaster two years ago.

“This will bring a new government, it will bring renewed hope, a fresh start,” said Lamothe in an interview late on Friday in Cartagena, Colombia, where he is attending the Summit of the Americas. “It means that the country will finally be able to get started and get going.”

The nomination of Lamothe, a former telecommunications entrepreneur, has been approved by the senate but is still pending approval by the lower chamber of the legislature. He must also gain approval of his plans for the government.

U.N. diplomats have called on Haitian politicians to stop bickering and form a stable government that can ensure advances in reconstruction.

Two years after the earthquake, piles of concrete, steel and debris litter the streets of the capital Port-au-Prince, where more than half a million people still live in tent camps.

Almost as many people have been sickened in Haiti in a cholera outbreak that killed more than 7,000 since October 2010.

The upcoming rain and hurricane season may cause further damage.

The United Nations warned last month that a lack of aid money is putting hundreds of thousands of displaced people at risk by limiting capacity to provide food and water, prevent crime and provide medical attention for cholera cases. Haiti received only around half of what it requested last year.

“We need every dollar that was promised to come in, and we need additional funds,” said Lamothe.

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