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7143: Haiti's P.M. might break Cabinet impasse (fwd)

From: nozier <nozier@tradewind.net>

Haiti's P.M. might break Cabinet impasse  February 24, 2001
Web posted at: 4:00 PM EST (2100 GMT)

 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti's new prime minister, economist
Jean-Marie Cherestal, is moving the impoverished nation closer to
forming a  working government. Cherestal has said he will invite the
Haitian opposition into the Cabinet to break a political impasse that
has left the new government crippled.
On Friday night, the parliament dominated by President Jean-Bertrand
 Lavalas Family Party ratified Cherestal. Before Cherestal begins work
he also
 must have his policy plan approved by the lawmakers. Cherestal --
finance minister in a previous Aristide presidency -- is expected to
win approval easily. The Haitian parliament will not meet again until
Thursday, when the policy hearings are expected to begin after the
carnival holidays.  During the hearings, Cherestal said he will also
present his Cabinet picks, who he said will be drawn from civil society
and the opposition.
 The nominees will help "to defuse all the pockets of tension that have
slowed us
 down so much in our efforts to develop," Cherestal said.
 The opposition has refused to recognize Aristide's legitimacy, and has
 past offers to join the government.   Aristide -- a former slum priest
-- was elected Haiti's president by 92 percent of  votes in November
elections boycotted by the opposition. It alleged that May  legislative
and local balloting was rigged to give 10 Senate seats to Lavalas party
 The Organization of American States said the 10 Senate races should
have gone
 to second-round runoffs. As a result, millions in international aid to
Haiti have
been suspended. Cherestal has said this penalty is too harsh and asked
for the aid to be reinstated.  Haiti is one of the least developed
countries of the world, and has massive unemployment. It depends on
foreign aid for 90 percent of its development budget.