January 11, 1999
Protests in tense Haitian capital as Preval threatens to dissolve Parliament

                  PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Demonstrators set fire to tire
                  barricades and threw stones at buses Monday amid speculation that
                  President Rene Preval would dissolve Haiti's parliament for refusing to
                  approve a new premier.

                  A power struggle between Preval and parliament has blocked installation of
                  a new prime minister since June 1997. Last week, Preval threatened to
                  dissolve parliament if lawmakers didn't approve nominee Jacques-Edouard
                  Alexis by Monday.

                  In a communique late Sunday, Preval urged Haitians "to remain calm in the
                  face of a new ordeal confronting democracy and a state of law."

                  Demonstrators, demanding that lawmakers step down, erected a few
                  flaming tire barricades in Port-au-Prince and threw rocks at
                  buses and cars.

                  Firemen removed the barricades, and police maintained tight security around
                  the seaside Legislative Palace. Many shops closed and parents kept their
                  schoolchildren home, fearing street violence.

                  The impasse has dashed hopes for stability fostered in 1994, when U.S.
                  President Bill Clinton sent 20,000 U.S. troops to Haiti to end a repressive
                  military-backed regime and restore deposed President Jean-Bertrand
                  Aristide to power. Preval succeeded Aristide, his mentor, in 1996.

                  Clinton's Haiti troubleshooter, former national security adviser Anthony
                  Lake, spent the weekend in Port-au-Prince trying to mediate a solution to
                  the crisis.

                  No premier, no budget

                  Without a premier, Haiti has not produced a budget since 1997, and
                  there are no plans to hold legislative elections. The last legislative elections,
                  in 1997, were suspended amid allegations of voting fraud in favor of
                  pro-Aristide candidates.

                  Alexis was Preval's fourth choice to succeed Haiti's last premier, Rosny
                  Smarth, who resigned to protest the alleged vote fraud.

                  Alexis was supposed to present his plan for governing to both chambers of
                  Parliament for approval last week. Lawmakers refused to hear him,
                  disputing his Cabinet choices.

                  A new Parliament originally was to take office on Monday. But in the
                  absence of elections, lawmakers voted to extend their terms until after a new

                  The street demonstrators -- members of grassroots groups that support
                  Aristide -- urged Preval to dissolve parliament, angry that lawmakers
                  approved the sale of state-run businesses that put more than 5,000 people
                  out of work.

                            The Associated Press contributed to this report.