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25833: Lemieux: AP: Lavalas to run in elections (fwd)
From: JD Lemieux <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Aristide's party to run in Haiti elections
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Prominent figures in
the party of Haiti's ousted leader said yesterday
that they will participate in fall elections, but
other members insisted no such decision has been
made - a sign of a possible rift in the country's
largest political faction.
Previously, officials with the Lavalas Family
party said they would not field candidates unless
ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is
allowed to return to Haiti from exile in South
Africa and other leaders were released from
Their participation in the elections is
considered key since Lavalas enjoys widespread
support despite the bloody rebellion that led to
Aristide's ouster in 2004.
Former Lavalas senator Louis Gerald Gilles,
regarded as a leader of the party's moderate wing
in Haiti, said they were in talks with Aristide -
still the head of the party - on a public
statement calling for participation in the two
rounds of elections.
"We have the obligation to join the elections and
to win them," Gilles said ata meeting of
political parties organised by Haiti's interim
government and the United Nations.
"Our party leader is an intelligent man, we are
convinced we will reach an agreement with him,"
Another senior high-profile Lavalas figure,
former deputy Rudy Heriveaux, confirmed the
"It's 100 per cent sure," Heriveaux said. "We'll
make the official announcement in the coming
Both said a congress would be held in the coming
days or weeks to nominate a presidential
candidate for the party.
But Jonas Petit, a party leader in exile, denied
that Lavalas would take part in the October 9
local elections and the November 13 legislative
and presidential race.
"It's absolutely false," Petit said by phone from
the United States. "It's contrary to the official
position of our party."
He accused the others in the party of bowing to
pressure from the interim government.
Aristide could not immediately be reached for
One possible presidential candidate, the Rev
Gerard Jean-Juste, was jailed late last week in
connection with the death of a well-known
journalist though authorities have offered no
proof and the Roman Catholic priest claims he was
out of the country at the time of the killing.
Only about 600,000 voters, or about 13 per cent
of the electorate, have registered to vote - a
figure that observers blame on the call for a
boycott by Lavalas.
Interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue said
Saturday that the August 9 deadline may have to
be extended to September so more people could
register to vote.
Latortue also said he disagreed with an advisory
board's recommendation that Lavalas be banned
from participating in elections because of the
party's alleged ties to armed gangs loyal to
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