Officials exit Haiti gov't over president's remarks to woman

AP News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 4:54 PM
Officials exit Haiti gov't over president's remarks to woman

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Hostile comments made by Haitian President Michel Martelly at a campaign rally has set off an uproar in his coalition government, leading a political ally to announce the resignation of three officials from his administration Wednesday.

The leader of the Fusion Social Democrats told reporters that two Cabinet ministers and a secretary of state will leave Martelly's government due to the president's comments to a woman in the port city of Miragoane last week.

"This is inappropriate. Enough is enough," Edmonde Supplice Beauzile said at a news conference announcing his party's vote to remove its three officials, which include the minister of women's affairs.

Martelly was at a rally when a woman complained that his government failed to bring electricity to her community. Haitian media reported that the president dismissed her complaint with coarse, sexist language, telling her in Haitian Creole to "go get a man and go in the bushes" to have sex.

A presidential spokesman did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

Loss of the three officials from a core part of the coalition is unlikely to affect the outgoing president's ability to govern. Martelly, who took office in May 2011, is in the final year of a five-year term and has been governing without a legislature since January.

After several years of delay, Haitians are finally going to the polls Sunday to elect a new parliament.

Before entering politics, Martelly was a brash star of compas, Haiti's high-energy version of merengue music. As the self-proclaimed "bad boy of compas," he was known for years for crude onstage antics that included cursing rivals and mooning the audience.