Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Meet the president of Haiti

René Préval - son of agronomist Claude Préval and Céline Talleyrand - was born in Port-au-Prince on January 17, 1943. He is father to two daughters, Dominique and Patricia.

He studies agronomy in Belgium at Gembloux and Louvain and geothermal sciences at the University of Pisa in Italy.

Upon his return in Haiti in 1975, he works at the Minister of Mine and Energy.

In 1988, he opens a private practice and a bakery.

Starting in 1976 René Préval joins the fight against Jean Claude Duvalier’s dictatorial regime in favor of the establishment of democracy in Haiti. He then becomes a member of resistance groups against the Duvalier regime, a founding member of the association called “Honor and Respect” fighting for the strict observance of the 1987 Constitution and presides over the “Comité Pa Bliye” (Let’s not forget committee) dedicated to missing persons’ cases that occurred during the Duvalier regime .

On the 13th of February 1991, René Préval becomes the Prime Minister (and, also at the same time Minister of Interior and Defense) of President Jean Bertrand Aristide, winner in 1990 of the first free election in Haiti since independence in 1804. However, René Préval goes into exile in September 1991 when Haiti’s first truly democratic experience is interrupted by a coup d’état undertaken by the military. He first seeks refuge in various embassies in Port-au-Prince before leaving for Washington where he resides until October 1994.

Upon the return of the constitutional Government in 1994, René Préval becomes Director of the Economic and Social Assistance Fund (FAES).

In December 1995, René Préval is elected President of Haiti for a five year-term. He takes the oath of office on February 7, 1996.

In February 2001, upon completing his term, René Préval retires to Marmelade, his father’s hometown, and there he dedicates himself to local development activities.

As a candidate for the 2006 presidential elections, René Préval scores a first-round win on February 7, 2006. He is sworn into office on the 14th of May 2006 as the 55th President of Haiti.


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