March 4, 2002

Haiti gets new prime minister

                 PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (Reuters) -- Moving to fill a top job that's been
                 vacant for six weeks, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will appoint
                 Senate President Yvon Neptune as prime minister, officials said on Monday.

                 Neptune, 55, a powerful senator from Haiti's western province and former
                 spokesman for Aristide's Lavalas Family party, will fill the vacancy that has existed
                 in the embattled Caribbean country's government since Prime Minister Jean Marie
                 Cherestal resigned on January 21.

                 Cherestal stepped down amid allegations of corruption and incompetence.

                 The Aristide government has been locked in a dispute with the opposition
                 Democratic Convergence coalition since the May 2000 parliamentary elections,
                 which Convergence said were tabulated to give Lavalas more seats than it was due.

                 Convergence refused to take part in November 2000 presidential elections that
                 Aristide won. The quarrel has prompted foreign donors who are anxious to see the
                 country establish solid democratic credentials after decades of dictatorship to hold
                 up hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.

                 The political situation has deteriorated since December 17, when a group of heavily
                 armed men stormed the National Palace in an apparent coup attempt.
                 Pro-government mobs demonstrated after the gunmen fled.

                 Two weeks ago, a Lavalas deputy was shot and killed as he sat in traffic in the

                    Copyright 2002 Reuters