Parliament Approves Cabinet, Including Former Junta Member
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) _ Parliament gave unanimous approval Friday to Prime Minister Martial Celestin’s 14-member Cabinet, which includes a member of the former ruling junta as defense minister.
No one identified as a Duvalier supporter is in the Cabinet but the new defense minister, Brig. Gen William Regala, is not popular. Critics repeatedly demanded his resignation during the two years of junta rule after dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier fled the country Feb. 7, 1986.
Celestin kept the portfolio of justice minister. Gerard Philippe-Auguste, a former presidential candidate, is minister of agriculture.
President Leslie Manigat and his prime minister appeared to be trying through the Cabinet appointments to broaden popular support for their government. Most of the members are known as liberals or moderates.
Manigat was declared the winner of the Jan. 17 election, which was run by the junta, boycotted by the most popular presidential candidates and ignored by most Haitians.
Philippe-Auguste, an agronomist, was one of the four main candidates Jan. 17. He and the other two who lost to Manigat claimed the army rigged the vote in Manigat’s favor.
An election in November managed by an independent Electoral Council was called off within hours because bands of thugs, often joined by soldiers, killed at least 34 people and wounded 75.
Among the other Cabinet members are:
-Gerard Latortue, foreign affairs. Latortue, 54, spent 25 years in exile during the three decades of Duvalier dictatorship and was co-director of the U.N. Organization for Industrial Development in Vienna.
-Adrien Westerband, public health. He is director of the Haitian Red Cross.
-Emmanuel Fils Aime, education and sports. Fils Aime was education minister for two months in 1985 and is the only new Cabinet minister to have held a public position under Jean-Claude or his father, Francois (Papa Doc) Duvalier.
-Alain Turnier, finance. He is an industrialist and writer in his early 70s who was finance minister under Gen. Paul Magloire, the president before the elder Duvalier gained power in 1957.
-Yves Auguste, interior and decentralization. Auguste was ambassador to the United Nations for the interim government.