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Thursday, 30 November, 2000, 12:05 GMT
Tough challenge in Haiti
Aristide supporters celebrate
Aristide supporters celebrate in Port-au-Prince
By BBC correspondent Peter Greste

Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who has just been declared the winner of Haiti's presidential elections, faces daunting challenges as he contemplates his new mandate.

If things don't get much better soon, he'd better watch out for the people

Street mechanic

The electoral authorities say the former priest has secured 91.7% of the vote, giving him his second run as president.

But analysts say that with Haiti shunned by the international community, Mr Aristide faces a tough job bringing the country out of its current economic and political crisis.

The announcement of the final results by Haiti's provisional electoral council was always going to be a formality.

Low turnout

Nobody seriously doubted that Jean Bertrand Aristide would win the race against three other relatively unknown candidates.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Aristide becomes president for the second time
But his final score was at the upper end of expectations.

Mr. Aristide's party, Family Lavalas, also made a clean sweep of the eight Senate seats up for grabs, giving it all but one seat in the Upper House and control over 80% of the House of Assembly.

It is difficult to determine if there was any fraud.

There were few international observers, though nobody seriously questions the fact that Mr. Aristide is the most popular politician in the country.

But the turnout for the poll was low and it is not clear if that was because of voter apathy or because Haitians heeded a call by the main opposition parties to boycott the poll.

Broke, corrupt and shunned

Either way, Mr Aristide has a hugely difficult job on his hands.

Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, yet the main donor countries have frozen direct government to government aid.

And they have blocked development lines because of concerns about election irregularities from earlier in the year.

The infrastructure in Haiti has almost completely collapsed and drug-trafficking has corrupted both the judicial system and the police force.

To complicate things further, relations with the political opposition have almost completely collapsed.

"We'll give him a bit of time to fix things," one street mechanic told me, "but if things don't get much better soon, he'd better watch out for the people."

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See also:

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
09 Jun 00 | From Our Own Correspondent
Haitians yearn for stability
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