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#1423: Haiti's Aristide unveils party's program (fwd)


Haiti's Aristide unveils party's program  03:39 p.m Dec 15, 1999 Eastern 
By Jennifer Bauduy 

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Former Haitian  President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is expected to run for  president next year,
unveiled his party platform on  Wednesday, calling for a stronger
partnership between the private and public sectors. ``When the private
sector and the public sector can create a partnership, then I am sure
our country will transform because we will have started where we should
start, with human resource, dialogue and mutual respect,'' Aristide
said.  Aristide, a former priest, rose to the presidency as the      
candidate of the poor in 1991. His anti-capitalist declarations       
were viewed as threatening by Haiti's small moneyed elite  and fuelled
Aristide's overthrow by the Haitian army seven months after he took
office. Aristide was returned to power by a U.S. led intervention       
force of 20,000 troops after three years in exile. He handed over power
to his close friend Rene Preval in 1996 and is  widely expected to make
a bid to return to the residency in  December 2000 elections.       
Haiti will hold legislative and municipal elections in March, its      
first national vote in nearly three years. The last, in April         
1997, was tainted by allegations of fraud and provoked a  lingering
political crisis that virtually paralysed the  government.  A more
accommodating Aristide spoke on Wednesday before hundreds of
entrepreneurs and Haitian elite at the first national congress of
Aristide's political party, Lavalas Family.  Appearing to move away from
his traditional  anti-privatisation anti-globalization stance, Aristide
said Haiti   must take a ``third path'' approach to globalization. 
``Haiti cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world,'' he said.
``The geo-economic reality must provoke a deep  reflection -- to
maintain equilibrium, maintain calm, and find a  middle way. This is
what we call a partnership between the two sectors, private and
public.''  The gathering was held at an upscale hotel in Petionville, a
  hilly suburb of Port-au-Prince, where Aristide presented a 182-page
party platform analysing problems and proposing  solutions in
agriculture, education, health, industry,  infrastructure and other
areas. The platform was published in French, spoken by a small
percentage of Haitians, but was expected to be translated into Creole,
the language of Haiti's poor majority, according    to Aristide. 

  As Lavalas Family sought to build bridges with Haiti's private        
sector, relations with the party's grass-roots partisans appeared
aggravated recently in Port-au-Prince, the northern  city of
Cap-Haitien, and in the southeastern town of Jacmel.  Party members
publicly protested the leadership's move to  bypass candidates chosen at
the grass-roots level in order to designate candidates chosen by party
leaders to register recently for the legislative and municipal elections
scheduled for March 19. Some Lavalas Family members blocked a
Port-au-Prince street and threw rocks in angry protest last week.