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7094: Haiti Senators Begin Work Stoppage (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti Senators Begin Work Stoppage
The Associated Press, Fri 16 Feb 2001
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Five senators aligned with Haiti's new
president began a work stoppage Friday in a move aimed at bringing
political reconciliation to the impoverished country. But the opposition
quickly rejected the move Friday as a bluff, and insisted that President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide call new general elections in 2003.
Grouped in a 15-party alliance, the opposition has refused to recognize
the legitimacy of Aristide's government and named a provisional one,
headed by Gerard Gourgue.
``The gesture is a pure bluff,'' said Gourgue, a former justice
minister. ``Aristide hasn't proved he wants to hold genuine
negotiations.' Aristide was elected by 92 percent of the vote in
November elections, boycotted by the main opposition parties, which
alleged that May legislative and local balloting was rigged to give 10
Senate seats to Aristide's Lavalas Family Party candidates. The five
Lavalas senators who suspended their work said they did not intend to
resign, and that their measure was only temporary.
In a joint statement, they said their gesture was meant as a
``sacrifice'' to signal that Lavalas was serious about
reconciliation.``The contested May 21 elections are at the heart of the
crisis,'' one of the five senators, Jean Joazil, said in a separate
statement. The work stoppage is a signal ``to the opposition to tell
them to continue exploring the road to peace.''
Millions of dollars of foreign aid to Haiti — which depends on donor
assistance for 90 percent of its budget — has been suspended because of
the political standoff.