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6530: Opposition Alliance Forms in Haiti (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

Wednesday January 3 8:00 PM ET Opposition Alliance Forms in Haiti
 By MICHAEL NORTON, Associated Press Writer

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - A 15-party opposition alliance challenging
the legitimacy Jean-Bertrand Aristide's election as Haiti's president
met Wednesday to develop an alternative government. The alliance, called
Convergence, said it intends to write a platform for a national unity
government that would hold general elections as soon as possible. It
urged supporters to struggle against ``a small group of profiteers''
 who have come to power. ``Our objective is to mobilize the silent
majority, which, by staying home instead of voting, signified its
repudiation of Aristide,'' said opposition politician ex-Sen. Paul
Denis, referring to the opposition's boycott of the Nov. 26 presidential
elections that returned Aristide to power. About 500 people attended
Wednesday's forum at a hotel in suburban Petionville. A larger
convention will take
 place later this month to nominate members to the provisional
government and put the finishing touches on its platform. President Rene
Preval, an Aristide ally, said in a Tuesday television interview that
the opposition's plan is ``political madness, but it has to be taken
seriously.'' Premier Jacques-Edouard Alexis called the opposition a
``bunch of lunatics'' and said the government won't tolerate any attempt
to overthrow it.
 Many influential opposition figures also declined to join the call to
form an alternative government. Haiti's main opposition parties
boycotted the November presidential election, claiming that local and
legislative elections in May had been rigged to give Aristide's Lavalas
Family party 80 percent of seats. Aristide, who takes office next month,
won the election with nearly 92 percent of the vote over six
little-known opponents. Aristide first won the presidency in a 1990
landslide victory, but the army ousted him in September 1991. He
regained power three years later after a U.S. military intervention.
Haiti's constitution bars consecutive terms, so Aristide stepped down in
1996 to make way for his handpicked successor, Preval. The opposition
says it fears Aristide will use his new term to establish one-man,
one-party rule. Although
 international elections observers said May balloting was fair, the
Organization of American States said 10 senate seats won by Lavalas
candidates should have gone to a runoff vote. In a letter to President
Clinton (news - web sites) last week, Aristide offered to rectify the
election results and include opposition figures in his government. The
opposition rejected the offers.