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Haitian president-elect takes power May 14
Tuesday, March 28, 2006

NEW YORK - Rene Preval, president-elect, Haiti speaks at a Security Council Meeting at UN Headquarters yesterday. (Photo: AP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) - Rene Preval will be sworn in as Haiti's next president on May 14, almost two months later than planned, the interim government said yesterday.

Preval's inauguration had been scheduled for March 2, but was postponed due to delays in holding a legislative run-off now set for April 21. Preval technically cannot take power without a sitting parliament.

Jean Junior Joseph, communications director for interim Prime Minister Gerard Latortue, said Preval will take the oath of office before Haiti's 129-seat parliament as outlined in the constitution.

Joseph said the new inauguration date was agreed upon by interim officials and a commission appointed by Preval, an agronomist and former president.

Preval, who is on an official visit to the United States, won the February 7 elections with nearly four times as many votes as his nearest rival. The elections were called to replace a power vacuum left after a February 2004 revolt toppled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Preval ally.

Results from the legislative run-off are expected April 28. Preval's party, Lespwa, which means "hope" in Creole, is considered a front-runner in the race, although observers say he will likely need to forge a coalition government because of the large number of political parties contesting the run-off.

Preval, who led Haiti from 1996 to 2001, has pledged to restore security, create jobs and attract foreign investment to Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

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