Haiti Inaugurates Relief President

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI: Receiving the presidential sash from predecessor Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Belgian-educated agronomist and former Haitian Prime Minister Rene Preval completed Haiti's first peaceful exchange of democratic power since it broke from France in 1804. Because Preval has little independent political support within the country, he is nagged by the notion that he is warming the presidential chair for a glorious return four years from now by Aristide, who may not succeed himself under Haiti's constitution, but can run again later. The problems of the western hemisphere's poorest nation will not wait for the millennium, though, and it looks as though Preval has about three months to return Haiti from the brink of anarchy. TIME's Tammerlin Drummond reports: "It's going to be a pretty tall order for him because he does not enjoy the love of the people that Aristide did." The new president must try to lead a nation with 70 percent unemployment and no established political institutions. To rebuild the economy, Drummond reports, Preval is attempting to secure aid from the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, hoping to attract manufacturing and assembly industries to employ low-skilled workers. With a crumbled infrastructure -- the capital has decrepit roads, nearly useless phones and spotty electrical service -- and a police force best prepared to direct traffic, securing credit will be difficult. Though violence continues across the country, there is a twinkle of hope: After losing the business years ago, Haiti once again is making baseballs.