The Miami Herald
January 17, 1999
Envoy: Haiti needs elections to end crisis

             PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AP) -- U.S. Ambassador Timothy Michael Carney says
             swift, credible legislative elections are the only way to halt Haiti's latest political

             Haiti has been without a prime minister since June 1997. On Monday, after a
             combative Parliament rejected four of President Rene Preval's nominees for the
             position, the president announced he would bypass Parliament and form a new
             government by decree.

             Carney said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press that the crisis needs
             to be ended quickly.

             ``The need now is to advance toward credible elections as fast as possible to see
             what the will of the Haitian people is, to get them out of the political impasse,''
             Carney said.

             Opponents charge that Preval is leading Haiti back to dictatorship, and there are
             fears of a resurgence of the violence that long plagued the country.

             Haiti, the poorest country in the Western hemisphere, has suffered through military
             and civilian dictatorships for most of the past two centuries.

             In 1990, more than 95 percent of voters turned out in the country's first successful
             democratic elections and chose as president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, then a Roman
             Catholic priest, who had helped end the 29-year Duvalier family dictatorship.

             The army ousted Aristide the following year and ruled until President Clinton sent
             20,000 troops to the country in September 1994 to restore democracy.

             Legislative elections in 1995 failed to draw 50 percent of voters, and a presidential
             ballot six months later, won by Preval, had a turnout of less than 30 percent.

             The April 1997 elections drew only about 5 percent of voters and were
             condemned by several international observers as fraudulent. Plans to hold new
             elections in November 1998 crumbled.


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