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The BBC's Daniel Schweimler
"The new president has a huge mountain to climb"
 real 56k

Wednesday, 7 February, 2001, 16:19 GMT
Aristide sworn in as Haiti's president
Supporters of Jean-Betrand Aristide before the inauguration
Mr Aristide enjoys wide popular support
Jean-Bertrand Aristide has been sworn in for a second term as president of Haiti amid an ongoing power struggle in the country.

Mr Aristide faces challenges on all fronts:

  • Haiti is the poorest in the Western hemisphere
  • International observers were critical of the election that brought him to power
  • The opposition refuses to recognise him as president.

Haiti's 15-party opposition alliance, Convergence, announced its own alternative president after talks with Mr Aristide's party broke down in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

The alliance declared former Justice Minister Gerard Gourgue as the country's provisional president and offered Mr Aristide a seat on a proposed three-member presidential council.

Rights activist

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
1990: Becomes Haiti's first democratically elected president
1991: Ousted by the army
1994: Restored to power by US military intervention
1996: Stood down at the end of his term
2000: Elected president for the second time
Mr Aristide's Lavalas Family party and Convergence blamed each other for the breakdown of talks, with mutual accusations of intransigence.

Mr Gourgue, a 75-year-old lawyer and human rights activist, was Minister of Justice in the military government that followed the fall of dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier in 1986.

He was also a presidential candidate in the 1987 elections that were aborted by the army.

Priest to president

Mr Aristide, 47, was re-elected president on 26 November, with his Lavalas Party winning more than 80% of local and parliamentary seats.

Haitian President-elect Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Aristide was re-elected president on 26 November
He first came to prominence as a shantytown priest fighting the Duvalier regime in the 1980s.

He became the country's first democratically elected president in 1990, but was deposed by a military coup in 1991.

He was restored to power with US military backing, and stepped down, barred by the consitution from serving more than one consecutive term, when his term elapsed in 1996.

The most popular politician in the country, Mr Aristide ran virutally unopposed last year when many opposition groups boycotted the election, accusing his Lavalas Party of fraud.


The Organisation of American States (OAS) said 10 Senate seats won by Aristide candidates should have gone to a second round vote.

Anti-Aristide protestor
The opposition is setting up a struggle for power
Some countries threatened to withhold aid through non-governmental agencies if the government did not revise the results.

The European Union decided to block $49 million in aid to Haiti, while some $17.7m intended to help cover the country's budget deficit, was also suspended.

Members of US President George W Bush's Republican Party have called Mr Aristide's election as president undemocratic.

Mr Aristide offered to rectify the election results and appoint a new provisional electoral council.

The opposition rejected Mr Aristide's offers, saying new elections should be held.

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See also:

30 Nov 00 | Americas
Aristide declared winner in Haiti
30 Nov 00 | Americas
Tough challenge in Haiti
28 Nov 00 | Americas
Profile: Jean-Bertrand Aristide
28 Nov 00 | Americas
Doubts surface over Haiti election
28 Nov 00 | Americas
Aristide supporters celebrate
19 Oct 00 | Americas
Haiti government foils 'coup plot'
14 Jul 00 | Americas
Aid threat to Haiti
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