PORT-AU-PRINCE -- For a man who says he’s not a presidential candidate, Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe is campaigning like one.
From visiting a remote central Haiti village with United Nations head Ban Ki-moon to stumping at a Haitian diaspora town hall in North Miami, Lamothe last week was everywhere a candidate needs to be — although the start of the 2015 Haitian presidential race is more than a year away.
“That is how prime ministers run,” said Robert Fatton, a University of Virginia politics professor and Haiti expert. “That is not a Haitian thing. This is politics.”
Lamothe, 41, the tech savvy businessman-turned-politician, insists that he’s not a candidate.
“This is part of my job; what I am doing as prime minister, it is to govern; it is to manage,” Lamothe said before joining more than a dozen flown-in members of his cabinet in front an overflow crowd for his televised town hall in North Miami. “I am prime minister today, and I am focusing on that.”
But Lamothe’s schedule reflects a Hillary Clinton-like method of raising a future candidate’s profile without officially announcing for office. And that is prompting concern and panic in Haiti where observers say the presidential posturing is intensifying a crisis prompted by legislative and local elections that are three years behind schedule.