Haiti's new military ruler said Friday that his government was provisional but rejected an appeal for general elections within six months, a leading politician reported.
Lt. Gen. Prosper Avril met Friday at the presidential palace with Sylvio Claude of the center-left Christian Democrat Party, who said he presented a 10-point proposal prepared by him and Louis Dejoie II, head of the National Agricultural and Industrial Party.Dejoie and Claude were front-runners in presidential elections last Nov. 29, aborted after 34 people were killed.
Claude told reporters at a news conference that one proposal was for Avril's military government to be replaced by an elected civilian government within six months.
According to Claude, Avril agreed on elections but said they "probably could not be held for another two to 21/2 years."
Avril, the army's former adjutant general, assumed the presidency after a coup by rank-and-file soldiers Saturday ousted Lt. Gen. Henri Namphy, who was sent into exile in neighboring Dominican Republic.
"It's not for the general to say when elections are to be held. It's for the Electoral Council. That's why we are insisting it (an electoral council) be created in three months," Claude said.
Claude said Avril told him he did not think it was possible for an independent electoral council to be restored that soon.
Avril accepted eight of the 10 proposals presented, Claude said, including that Haiti's 1987 Constitution be restored and that an elected president be inaugurated within a month of elections.
Claude said Avril agreed to the other proposals, to guarantee liberty, freedom of speech and the right to assembly; guarantee security for politicians and political activities; to fight contraband and drug smuggling; to disarm the dreaded Ton-ton Macoutes; to arrest and prosecute known criminals; and to prohibit foreign intervention and financing in the electoral process.
"In general, they're in agreement with us. But those are all words. Now we're waiting for acts," Claude told reporters.