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#5274: Former Haitian president Aristide makes bid for island's presidency (fwd)

From: nozier@tradewind.net

Former Haitian president Aristide makes bid for island's presidency 

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) - -Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
threw his hat into the ring on Monday as a candidate in the island's
 November 26 presidential elections. As the 47-year-old Aristide
 officially declared his candidacy before the  Provisional Electoral
Council on Monday, several thousand enthusiastic supporters gathered
around the building in eastern Port-au-Prince. The mission of the
electoral council -- formed to oversee the legislative and municipal
elections that took place May  21 and July 9 -- was recently modified to
include the presidential vote. Aristide, the likely favorite in the
upcoming presidential election that the opposition has boycotted, served
as president of Haiti from 1991 to 1996. Despite efforts by the
Organization of American States to smooth things over, no agreement
could be reached between Aristide's party, the Lavalas Family Party, and
the opposition, organized under the Democratic Convergence Party.
 Four other candidates who are less familiar to the public at large,
including the son of a former neo-Duvalierist official, have also
entered the race to succeed President Rene Preval. Former Haitian
dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier's regime lasted from 1971 until 1986,    
when he fled to France. Preval's term ends on February 7, 2001, the 14th
anniversary of the Duvalier dictatorship's demise. Presidents here are
elected to five-year terms and are not eligible for immediate
re-election. The deadline for candidacy declarations for the upcoming
presidential election, as well as for a third of the Senate seats, also
up for grabs this election period, was originally set for Monday.
The election council extended registration by a week due to the small
pool of candidates. Lavalas won a sweeping majority of seats in
legislative elections earlier this year. Those polls were widely
criticized as unfair, and the United States and the European
Union warned Haiti it could lose millions of dollars in aid if it
ignored charges of election irregularities. According to diplomatic
sources from Port-au-Prince, the deputy secretary general of the
Organization of American States, Luigi Enaudi, is expected to return to
the Haitian capital on Thursday in the hope of breaking the political
impasse between Lavalas and the Democratic Convergence.