By Michael Deibert
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Sept 20 (Reuters) – Haiti’s minister in charge
of bridging the 2-year-old electoral impasse between the government and
opposition parties announced his resignation on Friday, citing frustrations
with government policy.
Marc Bazin, a former prime minister who served as a minister without
portfolio, said he had delivered letters of resignation to President
Jean-Bertrand Aristide and Prime Minister Yvon Neptune on Wednesday.
“When I took this job, I gave myself a deadline of seven months to
show substantive progress in the negotiations and, while we have had some
small successes, the difficulties between the government and the opposition
remain,” Bazin told Reuters.
Aristide began his second term as president in January 2001 and his
ruling Lavalas Family party has since been locked in dispute with the
opposition coalition Democratic Convergence over May 2000 legislative
elections that his opponents contend were biased to favor Aristide’s party.
The deadlock has stalled more than $500 million in international aid.
The Organization of American States called this month for restoration of
aid to avert a “humanitarian disaster” in this impoverish Caribbean country
of 8 million people.
A former World Bank official and finance minister for deposed Haitian
dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier, Bazin was defeated by Aristide for the
presidency in 1990. He served briefly as prime minister under the military
government that deposed Aristide in 1991.
After serving as Aristide’s Minister of Planning last year, Bazin
assumed the negotiator’s role in Neptune’s government in March. He
succeeded in getting Aristide and opposition leaders to sit down together
only once, at the papal nuncio’s Port-au-Prince residence in June.
The government had no immediate comment on Bazin’s resignation.
Bazin faulted the Aristide administration’s record on human rights,
corruption, economic policy and privatization of Haiti’s notoriously
inefficient state industries.
“We’ve seen a 16 percent rise in inflation, the gourde (Haitian
currency) has lost 32 percent of value in a year and the government’s
economic policy, if you can call it that, has been absurd,” the former
“We need to privatize state industries to make them competitive and
change the system we have now, which is one of no transparency and no
accountability. Corruption is a system and the entire system needs to be
Bazin said he would concentrate on reviving his own political party,
the Movement for the Installation of Democracy in Haiti.
“There is an electoral year coming, which our party is fully prepared
to enter,” Bazin said, referring to a possible round of legislative
elections that could begin in November. “We will push for maximum security
for those elections, improvements in human rights, and a real economic
By Michael Deibert