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Last Updated: Monday, 6 February 2006, 17:42 GMT
Haiti elections: Key candidates
More than 30 candidates are running for president in Haiti's long-awaited elections on 7 February. They are seeking to succeed the interim government which was installed after President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was forced into exile in 2004.

The BBC News website looks at the main contenders.


Rene Preval
Mr Preval was a close ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide

The candidate of the small L'Espwa (The Hope) party, Rene Preval is the front-runner in Tuesday's elections.

Recent opinion polls showed him well ahead of his closest rival, businessman Charles Henry Baker.

Mr Preval, 63, was active in the movement to oust military ruler Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier during the 1970s.

He was prime minister for a brief period in Jean-Bertrand Aristide's first administration, which was forced out of power in a 1991 military coup. He later replaced Mr Aristide as president between 1996 and 2001.

An agronomist who studied in Belgium, he enjoys strong popularity in the slums of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince, thanks to his association with the exiled leader. Some believe that he will pave the way for Mr Aristide's return.

However, Mr Preval has refused to comment on his once-close links to the controversial ex-president.


Charles Henry Baker
Mr Baker describes himself as "untainted"

Charles Henri Baker, 50, is a wealthy industrialist whose main support comes from Haiti's wealthy elite.

Mr Baker, an independent, has been a vocal critic of the current interim administration and before that of Mr Aristide's government.

He became actively involved in politics in 2003 and 2004 through the Group of 184 that opposed Mr Aristide and describes himself as being free from any association with Haiti's murky political past.

The latest opinion polls give him 10% support.


Leslie Manigat
Mr Manigat briefly served as president in 1988

Another former president running in Haiti elections, Leslie Manigat, 75, is seen as the candidate favoured by much of the private sector.

Mr Manigat is an international affairs expert who graduated from the Political Studies Institute of Paris and studied history at Sorbonne University.

He became president in 1988, but was ousted in a military coup less than five months after his inauguration.

Mr Manigat spent more than two decades in exile.

The current interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, served in his government.


Guy Philippe
Mr Philippe is a former army officer

Haitian rebel leader Guy Philippe, 37, led an insurgency that played a key role in forcing Mr Aristide out of power in 2004.

A former army lieutenant and police commissioner, the candidate for the National Reconstruction Front insists that his rebellion was motivated by love of democracy.

He had fled Haiti in October 2000 after he and other top police officers were accused of plotting a coup against Mr Aristide.

Mr Philippe has also been accused of involvement in drug trafficking, but has denied the claims.


Former World Bank official Marc Bazin, 73, is running for a coalition known as Union for Haiti, which is made up of his own party and a faction of Mr Aristide's Lavalas Family.

In 1982 he served as Finance Minister under Duvalier.

Mr Bazin lost to Mr Aristide in the 1990 presidential elections, and served as acting prime minister in the military government that seized power the following year.

He was appointed planning minister after Mr Aristide's re-election in 2000.


Evans Paul
Mr Paul is a leading critic of the ousted president

A former mayor of Port-au-Prince, Evans Paul is the candidate of the Alliance coalition.

As a political activist, he had fought the Duvalier rule in the 1970s and 1980s.

Originally an ally of Mr Aristide's, he became a leading critic of the ousted president.


Social-democrat Serge Gilles, 69, also fought the Duvalier rule and was sent into exile in France, where he spent 25 years until 1986.

A graduate of the Political Studies Institute of Paris, he was a senator from 1990 to 1994.

Mr Gilles is running for an alliance of three parties.


A former army major faithful to "Baby Doc" Duvalier, Dany Toussaint, 48, was chief of Haiti's interim police force in 1995 and was elected senator in 2000.

He currently runs several businesses.

See the preparations for the Haiti elections


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