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7143: Haiti's P.M. might break Cabinet impasse (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Haiti's P.M. might break Cabinet impasse February 24, 2001
Web posted at: 4:00 PM EST (2100 GMT)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti's new prime minister, economist
Jean-Marie Cherestal, is moving the impoverished nation closer to
forming a working government. Cherestal has said he will invite the
Haitian opposition into the Cabinet to break a political impasse that
has left the new government crippled.
On Friday night, the parliament dominated by President Jean-Bertrand
Lavalas Family Party ratified Cherestal. Before Cherestal begins work
must have his policy plan approved by the lawmakers. Cherestal --
finance minister in a previous Aristide presidency -- is expected to
win approval easily. The Haitian parliament will not meet again until
Thursday, when the policy hearings are expected to begin after the
carnival holidays. During the hearings, Cherestal said he will also
present his Cabinet picks, who he said will be drawn from civil society
and the opposition.
The nominees will help "to defuse all the pockets of tension that have
down so much in our efforts to develop," Cherestal said.
The opposition has refused to recognize Aristide's legitimacy, and has
past offers to join the government. Aristide -- a former slum priest
-- was elected Haiti's president by 92 percent of votes in November
elections boycotted by the opposition. It alleged that May legislative
and local balloting was rigged to give 10 Senate seats to Lavalas party
The Organization of American States said the 10 Senate races should
to second-round runoffs. As a result, millions in international aid to
been suspended. Cherestal has said this penalty is too harsh and asked
for the aid to be reinstated. Haiti is one of the least developed
countries of the world, and has massive unemployment. It depends on
foreign aid for 90 percent of its development budget.