PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) -- Former Haitian President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is expected to run for president next year,
unveiled his party platform on Wednesday, calling for a stronger partnership
between the private and public sectors.
"When the private sector and the public sector can create a partnership,
I am sure our country will transform because we will have started where we
should start, with human resource, dialogue and mutual respect," Aristide
Aristide, a former priest, rose to the presidency as the candidate of the
in 1991. His anti-capitalist declarations were viewed as threatening by Haiti's
small moneyed elite and fueled Aristide's overthrow by the Haitian army
seven months after he took office.
Aristide was returned to power by a U.S. led intervention force of 20,000
troops after three years in exile. He handed over power to his close friend
Rene Preval in 1996 and is widely expected to make a bid to return to the
residency in December 2000 elections.
Haiti will hold legislative and municipal elections in March, its first
vote in nearly three years. The last, in April 1997, was tainted by allegations
of fraud and provoked a lingering political crisis that virtually paralyzed the
A more accommodating Aristide spoke on Wednesday before hundreds of
entrepreneurs and Haitian elite at the first national congress of Aristide's
political party, Lavalas Family.
Appearing to move away from his traditional anti-privatization
anti-globalization stance, Aristide said Haiti must take a "third path"
approach to globalization.
"Haiti cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world," he said. "The
geo-economic reality must provoke a deep reflection -- to maintain
equilibrium, maintain calm, and find a middle way. This is what we call a
partnership between the two sectors, private and public."
The gathering was held at an upscale hotel in Petionville, a hilly suburb
Port-au-Prince, where Aristide presented a 182-page party platform
analyzing problems and proposing solutions in agriculture, education, health,
industry, infrastructure and other areas.
The platform was published in French, spoken by a small percentage of
Haitians, but was expected to be translated into Creole, the language of
Haiti's poor majority, according to Aristide.
As Lavalas Family sought to build bridges with Haiti's private sector,
relations with the party's grass-roots partisans appeared aggravated recently
in Port-au-Prince, the northern city of Cap-Haitien, and in the southeastern
town of Jacmel.
Party members publicly protested the leadership's move to bypass
candidates chosen at the grass-roots level in order to designate candidates
chosen by party leaders to register recently for the legislative and municipal
elections scheduled for March 19.
Some Lavalas Family members blocked a Port-au-Prince street and threw
rocks in angry protest last week.
Copyright 1999 Reuters.