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Aristide sworn in as Haiti's president

BBC, Wednesday, 7 February 2001, 16:19 GMT

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'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

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.

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

He became the country's first democratically elected president in 1990, but was deposed by a military coup in 1991. Aristide was re-elected president on 26 November

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. Aristide was re-elected president on 26 November

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. Aristide was re-elected president on 26 November

Sanctions Aristide was re-elected president on 26 November

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

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.