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Aristide wins vote, not power

Haiti's exiled president gained parliamentary recognition Tuesday as the country's legitimate leader, but lawmakers refused to set a date for his return.

Haitians reacted warily to the Parliament vote, which demanded that Jean-Bertrand Aristide obtain an end to a punishing international embargo before he could put a new government in place.

The army-backed resolution also says any new government must propose an across-the-board amnesty for soldiers who toppled Aristide in a coup in September 1991.

Aristide has insisted on an unconditional return to power and demands that the army be purged of corrupt and repressive officers. He has said the embargo must be tightened, not lifted, until a date for his return is set.

The lawmakers fixed no such date, saying only that an Aristide-backed government "in collaboration with national and international instances will work towards Aristide's physical return to Haiti."

The last de facto leader, Prime Minister Marc Bazin, quit a week ago after losing army support. Cabinet ministers have run the country since then.

The resolution recognized the legitimacy of "the priest-citizen Jean-Bertrand Aristide" as president until his term ends Feb. 7, 1996.

But the lawmakers said they wouldn't ratify a new prime minister until Aristide persuades the Organization of American States to lift its embargo and restore diplomatic relations with Haiti.

Alexandre Medard, an Aristide aide, said he didn't think the exiled president could accept the resolution.