The Miami Herald
November 6, 1998

Prospective Haitian premier's nomination in trouble

             By MICHAEL NORTON
             Associated Press

             PORT-AU-PRINCE -- (AP) -- A government audit shows that President Rene
             Preval's latest choice to head Haiti's government has mismanaged funds, a senator
             says. The report lengthens the odds against resolving Haiti's long power struggle.

             The report makes it unlikely that Haiti's Parliament will accept Education Minister
             Edouard Alexis for premier and end an impasse that has left the Western
             hemisphere's poorest country without a working government for 16 months.

             Sen. Elie Plancher said the State Audit Office presented the 20-page, confidential
             report to lawmakers Tuesday. Later, he told The Associated Press that the report,
             covering Alexis' management from February 1996 to October 1997, alleges
             mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

             ``These are serious charges,'' Plancher said.

             Alexis could not be reached for comment.

             Haitian lawmakers have not agreed on a new prime minister since June 1997,
             when Rosny Smarth resigned. Opposition lawmakers charge that partial legislative
             elections were slanted in favor of those loyal to former President Jean-Bertrand

             Alexis was the fourth nominee named by Preval.

             The standoff has prevented passage of two government budgets, frightened away
             foreign investors and left millions of dollars of much-needed foreign aid on hold.

             It has also forced an indefinite postponement of legislative and municipal elections
             scheduled for this month.

             The impasse has dashed hopes of democracy sown in 1994, when 20,000 U.S.
             troops intervened to end three years of repressive military rule, restore Aristide to
             power, and halt an exodus of boat people to Florida.

             Aristide chose his protégé, Preval, to run in the 1995 elections. Aristide is
             expected to run in the 2000 presidential elections.


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