Former Haitian President René Préval died on Friday at his home in Laboule, a neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He was 74.
René Préval was born in Port-au-Prince on January 17, 1943 and was raised in his father’s hometown of Marmelade, a village town in the Artibonite department. He studied agronomy at the College of Gembloux and the University of Leuven in Belgium and also studied geothermal sciences at the University of Pisa in Pisa, Italy. He left Haiti with his family in 1963.
Préval twice served as President of Haiti, from February 7, 1996 to February 7, 2001, and again from May 14, 2006 to May 14, 2011. He was also Prime Minister from February 1991 to October 11, 1991.
Préval was the first elected head of state in Haitian history to peacefully receive power from a predecessor in office, the first elected head of state in Haitian history since independence to serve a full term in office, the first to be elected to non-successive full terms in office, and the first former Prime Minister to be elected President.
His presidencies were marked by domestic tumult and attempts at economic stabilization, with his latter presidency being marred through the destruction wrought by the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
In addition to his wife, President Preval is survived by his two daughters and a son, and two grandchildren.
[via Miami Herald]