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7951: For Immediate Release: Haiti's President Upholds Democracy (fwd)

From: Haiti Reborn <haiti@quixote.org>


CONTACT: Melinda Miles
301-699-0042 / 240-432-7414

Proposed Solution Fulfills OAS and US Stipulations

BRENTWOOD, MD - President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has restated the
position of his government, first taken in March, to pursue a solution
to the political impasse in the country. President Aristide has proposed
a solution that fulfills his agreement with the United States and takes
into consideration all the suggestions made by the Organization of
American States (OAS). President Aristide’s attempts have been welcomed
by the U.S. and the OAS, as well as civil society representatives, the
business community and opposition parties in Haiti.

President Aristide has committed to re-run the contested senate seats
from the May 2000 elections. According to the OAS, the U.S. and all
international observers, the elections held in May 2000 were free, fair
and democratic. The only source of controversy has been the
determination of winners in 7-9 senate seats which were called on the
first round. In a further attempt to negotiate a compromise, President
Aristide has proposed an accelerated electoral calendar that will
shorten the terms of all parliamentarians from the May 2000 elections.

Several attempts made by the President to initiate dialogue between his
party, the Lavalas Family, and an outspoken opposition coalition have
been met with stubborn resistance from that coalition, the Democratic
Convergence. Parties who have attended recent negotiations with
President Aristide unanimously deplore the Convergence for refusing to
move forward in consultations and for deepening the suffering of the
people during this transition.

 Although the media continue to label the situation a political or
electoral crisis, there is no crisis, as all but one group have
participated in negotiations with a positive outcome. The Convergence,
which lost credibility with the Haitian people by naming an alternative
president and calling for the restoration of the army (which terrorized
the Haitian population for most of the 20th Century), does not represent
the majority of Haitians.

President Aristide, the democratically elected president of Haiti,
represents the majority of Haitians. In his speech Wednesday Aristide
responded to the call from the Convergence to re-stage the entire local
and legislative elections of May 2000. He made clear his position that
it would be a direct contradiction to the will of the people to nullify
their votes. Addressing local leaders Aristide stated, “Since we are
talking about democracy, you and I are elected officials. We all should
remember that, so that no one changes the choices the people have made
during the election When I am here talking to each of you, I am talking
to the many people who voted you in, because you are the elected
representatives of the people.”

Melinda Miles, coordinator of Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center, reacted to
Aristide’s statements saying, “It would be an assault to democracy in
Haiti to rerun every seat from the May 2000 elections. The majority of
Haitians mobilized, exercising their democratic rights and expressing
their will, and the international community validated their vote.
President Aristide’s proposal represents the most appropriate step to
uphold democracy and respect the will of Haitian voters.”

For more information, contact Melinda Miles, Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center
at (301)699-0042, cell: 240-432-7414. A detailed report of the elections
held in Haiti in 2000 is available at www.quixote.org/haiti/elections.

(301)699-0042 - FAX 864-2182 - WWW.QUIXOTE.ORG/HAITI - HAITI@QUIXOTE.ORG