Senate certifies man nominated to be Haiti's next premier
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- The Haitian Senate has taken the first
step toward possibly ending an 18-month political stalemate, certifying the
man nominated for premier as eligible to head a new government.
The Senate declared Jacques-Edouard Alexis's age, citizenship, and deeds
to property in conformity with the law. However, it did not rule on a
controversial audit of the 51-year-old education minister's management of
public funds. The audit was favorable to Alexis.
It is likely the 83-seat Chamber of Deputies will certify his eligibility
votes, probably within a few days.
Alexis also has enough support in the lower house to win the necessary
votes of confidence in his general policy statement, the next step toward
approval. It is uncertain, however, whether Alexis can win the necessary 14
votes of confidence in the Senate.
In June 1997, then-Premier Rosny Smarth resigned in protest over elections
allegedly slanted in favor of candidates endorsed by former President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Since then, the power struggle between Smarth's
majority party and Aristide's handpicked successor, President Rene Preval,
has blocked the installation of a new premier.
The impasse has dashed hopes for stability fostered in 1994, when 20,000
U.S. troops intervened to end three years of military-backed rule, restore
Aristide to power and stem the exodus of Haitian boat people to Florida.
In the impasse, legislation has frozen and there has been no government
budget for two years. Foreign and domestic investors have shied away, and
millions of dollars in foreign aid are on hold.
Copyright 1998 The Associated Press.