Aristide says his party can win Haiti elections

May 10, 2013

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Haiti’s former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide said Thursday his party could win a majority in upcoming elections, a declaration that came just a day after his testimony into an unresolved murder.

Aristide, speaking in Creole on local radio, said his leftist Fanmi Lavalas party is getting stronger and that “if there are free, fair and democratic elections,” it “can win the majority of posts that are in play.”

Partial Senate and local elections are scheduled for the end of 2013 but no official dates have yet been announced.

Aristide made a rare public appearance Wednesday, drawing tens of thousands of supporters out into the streets of the capital.

The 59-year-old former Roman Catholic priest known as a champion of Haiti’s poor and reviled by the Caribbean nation’s elite was in court to testify before a judge over the assassination of prominent journalist Jean Dominique, in 2000.

Aristide was not in power then, but rather a leader of the opposition. He was questioned as part of a broad, long-running probe into the killing.

Aristide supporters have accused the current government of President Michel Martelly, of persecuting their favorite.

Aristide was president from 1991 to 1996 and 2001 to 2004, though his first mandate was cut short from September 1991 to October 1994 by a coup d’etat that saw him take refuge in the United States.

He eventually left Haiti in 2004 aboard a U.S. Air Force plane into exile in South Africa, fleeing political turmoil.

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