Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide says he hopes to return to Haiti as soon as possible, after nearly two years in exile in South Africa.

Mr. Aristide told South African television Tuesday, he is in talks with Haitian officials about his return, now that Haiti has elected a new president. Aristide left the country after a popular revolt in 2004 that brought down his presidency.

Haiti's new leader is former Aristide ally Rene Preval, who was declared the winner of this month's election after a controversial change in the way blank ballots were counted.

Earlier Tuesday, Haiti's chief elections official, Jacques Bernard, fled to the United States after receiving threats and finding his home ransacked.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.