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
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
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
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
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.