19 Mar 2011

Aristide ends seven-year exile

6:14 am on 19 March 2011

Former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide has returned home after seven years in exile in South Africa.

He was greeted by cheering supporters as he got off his plane in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Mr Aristide said he hoped his return would mark not only the end of his exile, but also of coups and social exclusion in Haiti.

The return comes at a critical time for Haiti, which goes back to the polls on Sunday for a presidential run-off vote.

If Mr Aristide says anything about the election, the effect could be catastrophic, the BBC reports.

He has said, however, that he will not seek an active role in politics.

Mr Aristide was forced to flee Haiti in 2004 amid a rebellion.