Ousted Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide will return within days to his homeland, ending seven years in exile, a South African official said Friday. The former slum priest remains hugely popular and his return could disrupt an election this month in his earthquake-ravaged country.
In Haiti, an official with Aristide's Lavalas Party confirmed that his "return is imminent," but declined to say how or when he's coming back.
. . . The party has been barred from taking part in the vote, and thousands of his supporters marched last month, threatening to disrupt the election if he is not allowed to return. Many said they would boycott the March 20 runoff to a disputed presidential vote because any election excluding Lavalas is not valid.
It's not a democratic election if you forbid the largest party and the most popular politician from participating in the election because you're afraid they'll win.