Monday, February 07, 2011

Preval to remain Haiti's president for another three months

Haiti's president will stay in power for three months while the nation's election mess gets sorted out. The runoff election is scheduled for March 20th. President Rene Preval is very unpopular in Haiti and is blamed for a show of inaction after the earthquake.

From this Associated Press article that we found at the Atlanta Journal Constitution, writer David McFadden explains the situation.

Mark Schneider, special adviser on Latin America for the International Crisis Group, said there will likely be "greater stability and more movement on reconstruction with this situation ... than if (Preval) were to name a temporary successor — which would clearly be unconstitutional."

Throughout most of the day, about 50 anti-Preval demonstrators protested outside the quake-destroyed National Palace, blocking traffic with overturned trash bins and burning tires. Hundreds of onlookers watched as protesters hurled rocks and chanted "Preval is a crook!"

"Preval has to go today. Today, Preval is unconstitutional," one man shouted repeatedly along the debris-littered streets.

Haitian police chased after the stone-throwing demonstrators. Patrolmen trained their guns down side streets and dismantled barricades. Heavily armed U.N. peacekeepers massed several blocks away, but the small band of protesters was later dispersed by police.

Elsewhere in Port-au-Prince, markets were bustling with shoppers and the intricately painted group taxis known as "tap-taps" ferried Haitians around. But most schools remained closed, fearing violence.

Preval is deeply unpopular, especially in urban areas, after years of continued poverty and following his perceived inaction in response to the earthquake. Many of those who gawked at the demonstrators agreed they wanted to see the end of Preval's term.

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