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6551: Opposition wants new vote (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Published Friday, January 5, 2001, in the Miami Herald
Alliance to challenge Haiti's rulers
Opposition wants new vote BY YVES COLON
What Haiti's opposition politicians couldn't do themselves,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide has done for them -- he brought them together. A
month before Aristide is to take office, those political parties have
coalesced into an alliance that plans to challenge his legitimacy by
calling for an alternative government. They also plan to call for new
elections. This development has led to bitter charges from Aristide's
allies, including President René Preval, who characterized the plan for
an alternative government
as ``political madness, but it has to be taken seriously.' Prime
Minister JacquesEdouard Alexis called the opposition a ``bunch of
lunatics'' and said the government won't tolerate any attempt to
overthrow it. Opposition leaders vow they are not mounting a coup
d'etat. At a meeting attended by about 800 people on Wednesday in
Port-au-Prince, leaders of the Convergence Democratique, as the alliance
is known, said they are setting up a
national unity government to get Haiti out of its morass. ``We want to
get to a consensus to propose an alternative and provisional government
to Mr. Aristide because we don't recognize his legitimacy,'' said Gerard
Pierre-Charles, a leader of the coalition. ``Everyone is aware that what
happened in the elections in May and November was a farce to hide what
was, in effect, the passing of power to Mr. Aristide.''
Aristide, facing four unknown candidates, won the Nov. 26 elections
percent of the vote. Leaders of a then-fractious opposition boycotted
the voting because Aristide's Lavalas party failed to hold a runoff for
10 disputed Senate seats won in legislative elections in May.
Aristide, in a letter to President Clinton last week, pledged to hold
elections and to include opposition members in the electoral council.
Pierre-Charles dismisses these promises. ``We don't give a lot of value
to his words,'' he said. Analysts say the May elections, when Lavalas
won overwhelming control of both
houses of parliament, and the presidential elections, effectively
squeezed out the
opposition. Sensing some support for the notion that the process that
brought Aristide into office is not credible, the opposition is grabbing
the opportunity to make its play,
said Georges Fauriol. ``They're trying to capitalize on this unique
moment, where there is dissatisfaction in the international community
regarding the performance of the political process in Haiti,'' said
Fauriol, director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies in Washington.
However, Fauriol said he had detected no support for an alternative
Pierre-Charles said the opposition is anxious to hear what
W. Bush will say about an Aristide presidency.
Fauriol suspects the incoming administration will require performance
Aristide's pledges before any commitment of financial aid. ``There
should not be any misunderstanding of the climate in Washington,''
Fauriol said. ``Either there's going to be performance, and soon, and
effectively, or there is no basis for any viable or credible policy.''
Pierre-Charles said the coalition will hold a second forum in the coming
this time including unions and religious organizations before setting
up a national
convention. Threats of violence by popular organizations loyal to
Aristide does not
scare away the opposition, he said. ``We know that violence is a
possibility, but we're going to face it,'' he said. ``This is the only
way to make sure we'll have stability in Haiti.''