Haiti Presidential Elections Go To Run-Off; Government Candidate To Face Former First Lady
December 8, 2010 By Staff
Today in Latin America
Top Story — Haiti’s contested presidential elections will go to a second round run-off, with the government-backed candidate and a former first lady ready to square off.
Mirlande Manigat, the 71-year old former first lady, received 31.37 percent of the vote in Haiti’s November 28 election and will face the 48-year-old hand-picked successor to Haitian President Réne Préval, Jude Célestin, who grabbed 22.48 percent of the vote.
Michel Martelly, a popular musician who is also known as Sweet Micky, received 21.84 percent and with just .64 percent separating him from Célestin, the road to the January 16 run-off may not be so clear cut.
There has already been an outcry from other candidates who have alleged fraud in the elections and protests broke out in parts of the capital of Port-au-Prince, which is still devastated by the earthquake that destroyed much of the city in January.
The protestors, who burned tires and threw rocks in the upscale suburb of Petionville, are believed to be supporters of Martelly.
Many people worried that Haiti was not ready for elections after the devastating earthquake and the fact that the country is in the midst of a cholera outbreak that has killed over 2,000 people since it was first reported in mid-October.
“The country absolutely wasn’t ready for elections, that’s obvious from all the people who couldn’t vote, to the irregularities at polling places and the exclusion of political parties,” said Mark Weisbrot, codirector of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The Center for Economic and Policy Research had election observers in Haiti.
Turnout for November’s elections was low, with just over a million people casting accepted ballots out of some 4.7 million registered voters.
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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere
- Mexican soldiers allegedly killed six gunmen in a clash in the northern state of Tamaulipas, as the troops headed to inspect a ranch.
- A federal judge in Los Angeles rejected a second effort to release from custody a United States television producer accused of killing his wife in Mexico.
- The United States Supreme Court will hear a challenge to Arizona’s controversial immigration law, which would revoke the licenses of companies that hire undocumented workers.
- South Africa on Tuesday canceled Cuba’s $137 million debt and offered another $30 million in credits in order to revive bilateral trade.
- Dozens of students at the University of Puerto Rico clashed with policy and security guards on Tuesday during protests against a proposed $800 annual fee.
- U.S. diplomats accuse Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s government of taking bribes from drug traffickers and receiving “suitcases full of cash” from Venezuelan officials, according to confidential documents released this week by WikiLeaks.
- As Costa Rica’s coffee sales falter, farmers are turning to tours of their farms and production process to plump up their profits from this waning cash crop.
- Colombian rescue teams struggled to recover the victims of a mudslide that has killed at least 34 people over the weekend, a tragedy spawned by the torrential rains inundating parts of the country.
- Venezuela’s government has taken a 20% stake in Globovisión, the last local television station that offers news and views critical of President Hugo Chávez.
- Peruvian Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa on Tuesday praised Latin America for becoming more democratic, but criticized Venezuela and Cuba and called the governments in Bolivia and Nicaragua “clownish.”
- Bolivia and Chile are near a compromise accord on allowing land-locked Bolivia access to the sea.
- Brazil postponed the decision to buy 36 new fighter jets as part of the modernization of its armed force until Dilma Rousseff takes office on January 1.
- Argentine energy company YPF announced Tuesday that it had found a huge deposit of unconventional natural gas in Patagonia.
- A study found that that glaciers in southern Chile and Argentina have been losing mass “faster and for longer than glaciers in other parts of the world.”
- Dockworkers in Argentina went on strike in solidarity for their Paraguayan colleagues’ demand for a collective-bargaining agreement.
Image: mediahacker @ Flickr.