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6065: AP FWD - Opposition seeks "alternatives" to Aristide presidency (fwd)
Uh-oh! I smell a coup coming.
Haitians seek option to Aristide presidency
Wednesday, November 29, 2000
By MICHELLE FAUL
The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- Haiti's opposition said Tuesday that it plans to
come up with an alternative to a government run by former President
Jean-Bertand Aristide, who seems certain to have won the country's
In another rebuke of Haiti's months-long election process, U.N.
Secretary-General Kofi Annan recommended that the United Nations close its
mission in Haiti, saying the U.N. efforts were useless considering the
government's questionable legitimacy and increasing isolation.
With six of nine districts reporting, Aristide had 91 percent of the vote,
the electoral council announced Tuesday.
"What we have in mind is to sit down with other opposition parties and civil
organizations and work out a national democratic alternative," Sauveur Pierre
Etienne, spokesman for the 17-party opposition alliance Convergence, said
Tuesday on private Radio Metropole.
Aristide said Monday he would welcome the opposition into his Lavalas party
government. The opposition spurned that offer.
The electoral council said turnout for Sunday's elections was 60.5 percent.
Opposition groups charged that ballot boxes were stuffed and turnout was
Etienne said most Haitians boycotted the elections and would not support
Most opposition parties have boycotted the process since May, when Aristide's
party won 80 percent of the legislature in a vote they charged was rigged to
ensure one-party rule. Aristide ran for president against six unknowns.
In an unusually critical report, Annan accused Haitian leaders of violating
basic norms of democracy in refusing to recount the results from May
parliamentary elections that gave the Lavalas Family party a majority.
The report was dated Nov. 9, and does not cover elections Sunday that
Aristide is thought to have won. But Annan drew several conclusions that
assumed Aristide would regain the presidency given the irregularities in the
Annan warned that several Aristide opponents fear the country may be heading
toward another "dictatorial and repressive regime" with Aristide at the helm,
even though he enjoys the support of the urban and rural poor.
On Monday, Aristide said "it's not in my agenda" to become a dictator.
Annan recommended "with regret" that the U.N. support mission in Haiti be
terminated when its current mandate expires Feb. 6. But he said the United
Nations would nevertheless try to develop a program of assistance to the
Haitian people as they try to cope with a loss in aid. Many donors have
withheld funding because of the political crisis.
The mission barely got off the ground, however, because the United States
held up an initial funding installment that prevented U.N. advisers from
deploying. Advisers began to arrive in mid-June.
The fiery former priest, who became Haiti's first freely elected president in
1990, did not declare victory in Sunday's vote, but he spoke as if he were
president. Final results are expected today.
After first becoming president in 1990, Aristide was toppled in a 1991
military coup and then restored in 1994 by a U.S.-led invasion to halt a
flood of refugees to Florida. Facing a constitutional ban on consecutive
terms, he reluctantly ceded power to a hand-picked successor in 1996.