Michel Martelly Wins Haitian Presidential Elections, According To Preliminary Results

A campaign poster for Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly.
A campaign poster for Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly.
A campaign poster for Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly.

Today in Latin America

Top Story — Musician and Carnival entertainer Michel Martelly won Haiti’s presidential elections Monday, according to official preliminary results.

“Martelly won,” an official at the Provisional Electoral Council, who asked not to be named, told Reuters.

Martelly, a 50-year-old entertainer known as Sweet Mickey with no previous government experience, preached a message of change during his campaign and pledged to break with decades of past corruption and misrule in Haiti.

“We represent this new wind that is blowing to establish a new state of law … we need a state that serves the population,” Martelly said during his campaign, according to MSNBC.

He won the March 20 run-off by garnering 67.57 percent of the vote, while former Haitian First Lady Mirlande Manigat received 31.74 percent of votes cast, according to AFP. Turnout in the second round of elections was high and voting was mostly peaceful, although still marred by fraud.

The final results, allowing for a period of appeals, are due to be announced on April 16. If the results are confirmed by that date, Martelly will take over power from current President René Préval, who cannot seek another term under the constitution.

International observers said that the run-off was much better organized than the November general election, in which government-backed candidate, Jude Célestin, took the largest share of the votes. He later withdrew from the race after international monitors found there had been widespread fraud in his favor.

The streets in the capital of Port-au-Prince and other cities were calm after Monday afternoon’s announcement, but United Nations Peacekeepers increased patrol in anticipation of the type of civil unrest that followed last November’s elections.

Haiti is still struggling to rebuild after last year’s devastating earthquake as well as a cholera outbreak that gripped the country last October. The country is also tense with the return of two former rulers, the ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier in January and former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in March.

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Image: WikiCommons.

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