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8228: Convergence Rejects Haiti Crisis Proposal (fwd)
Haiti Opposition Rejects OAS Plan
By MICHAEL NORTON
.c The Associated Press
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - The Haitian opposition on Wednesday rejected a
settlement to end its political standoff with the government, calling it a
ruse intended to restore the flow of foreign aid.
President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has offered to immediately rerun elections
for seven disputed Senate seats, and the plan was approved Tuesday at the
Organization of American States' general assembly in San Jose, Costa Rica.
The OAS and Haiti's opposition both say the Senate races in May 2000 should
have gone to runoffs. But opposition leader Gerard Gourgue dismissed the
OAS-backed plan as inadequate.
The plan ``will not only delay the establishment of democracy, it will poison
the atmosphere in which a durable resolution of the crisis should be
negotiated,'' Gourgue told The Associated Press.
The seven ruling party Senators resigned on Monday, and the government said
new elections for the seats would happen before the end of the year.
Aristide also has agreed to hold early elections for most other legislators
elected in the disputed balloting.
But Gourgue's 15-member Convergence opposition alliance called Aristide's
plan a ploy to win the favor of the international community. It said the plan
ignores real political reform after last year's allegedly tainted elections.
The opposition demands new elections for more than 7,000 elected offices,
arguing the entire electoral process last year was manipulated by Aristide's
Lavalas Family Party, whose members dominated the electoral commission.
Aristide won a landslide victory in November presidential elections boycotted
by the main opposition parties, which refused to recognize the legitimacy of
his government after the inauguration in January.