Haitian presidential candidates at a press conference on Nov. 28.
Haiti, Today in Latin America

Haiti Presidential Elections Go To Run-Off; Government Candidate To Face Former First Lady

December 8, 2010 By Staff

Haitian presidential candidates at a press conference on Nov. 28.

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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