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Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 23:43 GMT
Haiti government foils 'coup plot'
President Rene Preval and Prime Minister Jacques Eduoard Alexis
The president and the prime minister say there was a plot to destabilise their government
Eight senior police officers have been arrested after allegedly plotting to destabilise the Haitian government ahead of next month's elections.

The authorities in Haiti said that six officers had been detained on the border with the Dominican Republic and two others had been arrested in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

There are well-founded rumours - today we can say that we are controlling the situation

President Rene Preval
The alleged plot has been uncovered one month before the country's presidential elections are supposed to take place.

Correspondents say the rumours of a coup which have been circulating in Haiti have revived memories of a military uprising in 1991, in which the former president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, was ousted.

Mr Aristide is now tipped as the favourite to win the elections.

'Well-founded rumours'

Haitian Prime Minister Jacques Eduoard Alexis said that police officers were involved in a plot.

"Certainly, there were police who met and plotted to create disorder", he said.

Campaigning for Jean-Bertrand Aristide
There is still uncertainty ahead of November's elections
But he did not give details of what the alleged plot involved, and there have been no reports of violence against government officials or buildings.

Rumours of a possible coup attempt have been circulating in Port-au-Prince since last weekend.

On Wednesday, President Preval confirmed the rumours.

"There are well-founded rumours. Today we can say that we are controlling the situation", he said.

Mr Preval called on the population to remain calm.

Electoral crisis

The rumours of plots come amid a climate of electoral uncertainty in Haiti.

The political parties - with the mediation of the Organisation of American States - have been holding talks to solve Haiti's prolonged electoral crisis.

Jean-Bertrand Aristide
Mr Aristide is tipped as the favourite to win next month's elections
But the meetings between the ruling Lavalas Family party - which supports Mr Aristide - and the opposition have still not overcome the political impasse.

The main opposition parties are boycotting the elections, following a dispute of the result of parliamentary elections held earlier this year.

Mr Alexis has said that the November elections could be postponed.

Earlier this week, the deputy secretary-general of the OAS, Luigi Einaudi, described the situation as tense and uncertain.

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See also:

18 Oct 00 | Americas
Uncertainty ahead of Haiti vote
14 Jul 00 | Americas
Aid threat to Haiti
11 Jul 00 | Americas
US considers action against Haiti
10 Jul 00 | Americas
Low turnout in Haiti elections
09 Jul 00 | Americas
Haiti returns to polls
08 Jul 00 | Americas
Haiti poll monitors pull out
20 Jun 00 | Americas
Haiti election results challenged
30 May 00 | Americas
Aristide win predicted in Haiti
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