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6254: REUTERS FWD - Haiti opposition to form alternative government (fwd)
Haiti opposition to form alternative government
By Trenton Daniel
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Haiti's opposition political
parties said on Friday they will work to create an alternative government
before President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide takes over in February.
The Democratic Convergence alliance said it soon will form a provisional
government to organize elections in which an alternative, "legitimate"
government will be chosen.
"We know on Feb. 7, Aristide will try to be inaugurated, but we will form a
national, political government before that," Convergence member Jose Jacques
Nicolas said, adding that Aristide's party, the Lavalas Family, would be
invited to participate.
Senate President Yvon Neptune, a spokesman for Lavalas Family, rejected the
Convergence statement, saying the opposition should respect the democratic
The major opposition parties in the Caribbean nation of 7.8 million people
boycotted the presidential election in November, which Aristide won with more
than 90 percent of the popular vote.
Opposition politicians refused to participate in protest at tainted
parliamentary elections in May and called the presidential election a sham.
The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti is battling to emerge from decades
of dictatorship and military rule and establish a stable democracy.
Opposition leaders accuse Aristide, whose party dominates parliament, of
setting up his own dictatorship.
ALLIES CRITICIZED VOTE
Haiti's key international allies, who have traditionally acted as election
observers, also criticized the vote after calling on the government to
rectify problems with the May election.
Aristide won the Nov. 26 election with 92 percent of the vote. He was
challenged by six unknown candidates who did not campaign due to preelection
In the May elections, international monitors reported that elections
officials miscalculated the winning percentages of 10 senate candidates from
Lavalas Family, giving them outright victories when they should have gone
Haitian authorities refused to reexamine the results, prompting the United
States, Canada and the European Union to withdraw observers and support for
the presidential vote.
Aristide was Haiti's first democratically elected leader, swept to power a
decade ago by a grass-roots movement that toppled the dictatorship of
Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier. But seven months into his term, he was
ousted in a violent military coup and went into exile.
Three years later a U.S.-led multinational force restored Aristide to power.
Constitutionally barred from running for a second consecutive term, he
relinquished power in 1996 to his protege, Rene Preval.
Democratic Convergence has criticized the statement by elections officials
that 60.5 percent of Haiti's four million eligible voters turned out for the
presidential vote. Opposition leaders estimated the turnout at under 5
The Caribbean Community (Caricom), an independent observer, put turnout at
between 15 and 20 percent.
Lavalas Family holds all but one seat in the 27-seat Senate, and more than 80
percent of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house, and nearly
all the mayoralties and town councils nationwide.
Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited.