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Boniface Alexandre

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Boniface Alexandre (b. 1936) is currently the acting president of Haiti. Following the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on February 29, 2004, Alexandre, as the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and therefore next in the presidential line of succession, assumed the office of president.

Alexandre was raised by his uncle, former Haitian Prime Minister Martial Célestin. He trained as a lawyer and worked for 25 years for Cabinet Lamarre, a Port-au-Prince law firm specializing in business contracts and divorce settlements.

In the 1990s, Alexandre was appointed to Haiti's Supreme Court, and in 2002, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide appointed him Chief Justice. As Chief Justice, he had a reputation for fairness in a judicial system widely regarded as corrupt. He has promised to fight incompetence and corruption in the courts of Haiti.

On April 25, 2003 Alexandre was made an honorary citizen of Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. Alexandre also teaches at the University of Port-au-Prince.

Acting presidencyEdit

Boniface Alexandre assumed the presidency of Haiti a few hours after the resignation of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who resigned and left the country in the face of an internal uprising and international pressure. Alexandre was sworn in on the morning of February 29, 2004 in a brief ceremony at the home of Prime Minister Yvon Neptune.

Although Alexandre holds the position of acting president, the Haitian constitution (in article 149) calls for him to be confirmed by the Haitian parliament, which has not met since January 2004, when the terms of most legislators expired. Under the Haitian constitution, new presidential elections must be held between 45 and 90 days after Aristide's resignation, and Alexandre as acting president would not be allowed to run in those elections.

Although Alexandre had close ties to former President Aristide, he was not a member of Aristide's Lavalas party. Following his assumption to the presidency, political opponents of Aristide suggested that he was too closely associated with the previous regime, and that, as Chief Justice, he was not active enough in declaring the court's independence from the executive branch of the government.

One of Alexandre's first acts as president was to submit an official request to the United Nations Security Council asking for a multinational peacekeeping force to restore order in Haiti. The Security Council quickly approved this request.

Although rebel leaders, including Guy Philippe, indicate their willingness to work with Alexandre as acting president, U.S. officials initially played down Alexandre's importance in the resolution of the Haitian conflict, calling Alexandre's administration a "caretaker" government.

Alexandre was officially inaugurated as president on 8 March. In his first presidential speech, he called for "national reconciliation, the establishment of a climate of peace and security for all and an emergency plan to counter hunger and poverty and to improve health." Gérard Latortue was named prime minister of Haiti by a committee of prominent Haitians on 10 March, replacing Yvon Neptune.

During his interim presidency, Alexandre's 16-month-old granddaughter, Charlotte Alexandre, drowned accidentally in a bathtub at the presidential palace while visiting from France with her family. Alexandre has four children.

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