President Préval Confirms Term Extension

Amidst protests, Haitian President Préval’s term was due to end on Monday, but with the second round of the presidential election delayed until next month, he announced that he would not demit office until May 14, 2011. Here are excerpts with a link to the full BBC Caribbean article below.

He had been silent about his intentions in recent days, leading to rumours that he might appoint a temporary successor. Police dispersed hundreds of demonstrators on Monday who’d gathered to urged the President to leave office immediately. Officers fired teargas and shots into the air after protesters blocked traffic with overturned trash bins and burning tyres outside the quake-damaged presidential palace.

Last week, election officials ruled that the second and deciding round of Haiti’s presidential election would be contended by the former First Lady Mirlande Manigat and popular singer Michel Martelly, edging out the government backed candidate Jude Celestin. [. . .] The second round was supposed to take place last month, but was postponed because of the dispute between supporters of Mr Celestin, who according to preliminary results came second, and Mr Martelly’s supporters, whose candidate came third.

In the meantime, a former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, is reported to have been been given a passport, paving the way for his possible return from exile. [However] Ira Kurzban, the lawyer who has been representing Mr Aristide, told AFP he had neither received the passport, nor had the Haitian authorities told him they had issued it. [. . .] Mr Aristide’s party, Fanmi Lavalas, was barred from standing in the current election, allegedly due to technical errors in its application forms.

Another former president Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier returned in January from 25 years of exile in France last month. He now faces charges in Haiti of corruption and “crimes against humanity”.

For full article, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/caribbean/news/story/2011/02/110208_haiti_aristide.shtml

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