Candidate Michel Martelly comment on return to Haiti of Aristide 2011 News
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Haitian presidential candidate Michel Martelly continued his election campaign on Thursday despite the imminent return from exile in South Africa of the country s former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide twice elected and twice deposed is a hugely popular but also hugely polarising figure. The United States and others fear his presence may disrupt the election and bring further disarray to a country struggling to emerge from a political crisis a cholera epidemic and devastation of the January 2010 earthquake. On Thursday thousands of Aristide supporters marched through the slum of Cite Soleil - where Aristide worked as a priest in the 1980s before becoming president - celebrating his expected return on Friday morning. The former president could sway the outcome of the election with an endorsement of either Martelly or his rival Mirlande Manigat. In the past both candidates have opposed Aristide. Now both Martelly and Manigat stress his right to return as a Haitian citizen under the constitution. And both candidates would want to attract votes from followers of the Lavalas Family party - of which Aristide is still president. Martelly said on Thursday night that he did not want to speculate about who Aristide may support. I don t know what he has on his mind or who he wants to support Martelly said. He added that because the country s constitution does not recognize the concept of exile ... Aristide is a Haitian citizen coming back to his country. Martelly later held a rally in Cite Soleil Aristide s stronghold. Earlier on Thursday Aristide left South Africa on a plane bound for Haiti along with his wife Mildred and two daughters. He was twice elected president of Haiti and remains wildly popular among the Caribbean nation s majority poor. Aristide never completed either of his terms. He was ousted the first time in a coup and restored to power in a US military intervention in 1994. After completing his term he was re-elected years later only to flee a rebellion in 2004 aboard a US plane. He claimed he was kidnapped. Aristide has been reclusive in exile doing university research and polishing his academic credentials with a doctorate awarded by the University of South Africa for a comparative study on Zulu and Haitian Creole.
Added on Oct 10, 2014 by HAITIANMOTION
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