Saturday, February 11, 2006
Preval headed for a Runoff in Haiti?
Former World Bank official Marc Louis Bazin, who is running under the political party Union pour Haïti, an alliance between the Mouvement pour l’Instauration de la Démocratie en Haïti and the Fanmi Lavalas party of Jean-Bertrand Aristide, has claimed that the State Electoral Council is manipulating the results to force a run-off. International observers have reported some irregularities at polling stations but have not suggested the results were tainted by fraud.
René Garcia Préval was born on January 17, 1943 in Port-au-Prince, one of four children. He holds a degree in agronomy from the College of Gembloux in Belgium and has a background in both engineering and geothermics. He was an ally of Jean-Bertrand Aristide and a leader of the Fanmi Lavalas party but has since distanced himself from that party, choosing instead to run on the ticket of the Lespwa party which is the Haitian creole form of the French “L'Espoir”, meaning “Hope.” He was inaugurated President of the Republic of Haiti in 1996, making him the second democratically elected head of state in the history of the country. Prior to that, Préval directed the Fonds d'assistance èconomique et sociale (FAES) in 1995.
Préval served as Prime Minister in the administration of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide from February 1991 until the military coup of 29 September forced him to eventually flee and join the exiled Constitutional Government in the United States from 1992-94. Préval retained the Premier's portfolio as well as those of Interior and Defense until August 1993 when he was retained by President Aristide as chief adviser.