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Archive for Wednesday, May 10, 2006

New parliament formally installed

May 10, 2006

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— Haiti's first parliament in two years was formally installed Tuesday as President-elect Rene Preval prepared to take office and steer this impoverished nation toward stability.

Amid boisterous cheers from supporters, legislators in the Senate took the oath of office, following deputies in the lower house by a day.

Preval, who served as Haiti's president from 1996 to 2001, takes power Sunday in front of the parliament, which hasn't convened since former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in a February 2004 uprising.

Stephen Benoit, a deputy from Preval's Lespwa party, said the body's biggest challenge will be finishing its four-year term - something that's never occurred in Haiti's chaotic 202-year history.

"That's the first challenge, to last the four years without a coup d'etat, without the president saying you're not going to finish your term," Benoit said.

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