Facebook Twitter



The resignation of Prime Minister Marc Bazin was greeted with hope for a return of democracy. But the army is expected to replace his year-old government with an even more rightist regime.

The army command, which has controlled the country since a September 1991 coup ousted elected President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, met Tuesday afternoon at the downtown military headquarters with several legislators. But it made no announcement regarding a new regime.Across the street, soldiers casually kept guard at the National Palace, which Bazin vacated at midday.

Bazin riled the military by trying to replace four members of his Cabinet, two of whom had army sponsorship. The ministers refused to surrender their offices on Monday and appeared to retain military support.

Bazin was designated prime minister in June 1992 with army backing and had little if any independent authority. His departure was received calmly by Haitians, who have weathered nearly two years of political crisis and a U.S.-led trade embargo.

Shops, schools and offices were open, and traffic in the teeming, rundown capital was heavy as usual.

The international community has pressed hard for the reinstatement of Aristide. His return is fiercely opposed by the military and a conservative elite.

Last week the United States beefed up its economic sanctions after the latest in a series of negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough.

U.N. mediator Dante Caputo, in a statement released in New York, said Bazin's departure could be positive. "It may pave the way to the quick re-establishment of the constitutional process in Haiti and the early return of President Aristide," his statement said.

Aristide himself, in Nicaragua for a meeting of OAS officials, told the Associated Press that Bazin's resignation might mean he could return to Haiti within days.