October 22, 2016

Haiti ex-leader Aristide faints at rally

Party officials say former Haitian leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide has fainted at an election rally.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide has fainted on stage at an election rally after his blood sugar levels fell, but was otherwise fine, a party official says.

Aristide, who became Haiti’s first ever democratically elected president after a 30-year dictatorship, was attending a rally for his Fanmi Lavalas party’s presidential candidate, Maryse Narcisse, in the northern port town of Cap Haitien when he collapsed.

Aides carried the 63-year-old Aristide offstage before driving him away from the event.

Leslie Voltaire, a top Narcisse advisor, said by telephone he was on his way to see Aristide, who had suffered an issue with his blood sugar levels.

“He was fine and he received sugar and candy,” he said.

Aristide was twice elected president of Haiti, in 1991 and 2001 and was ousted both times, most recently in 2004, when he went into exile in South Africa for seven years.

He returned to Haiti in 2011 but had largely remained out of the public eye, although he ventured out to campaign for Narcisse in 2015 and this year.

Narcisse came fourth in a disputed presidential election last year, which was cancelled after electoral bodies concluded there was massive fraud.

A new general election is due to take place on October 9.

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