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HAITI
Popstar wins presidency
4/8/2011
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Martelly wins second-round runoff by wide margin, defeating former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

Joseph Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly, a pop singer, overwhelmingly won Haiti´s presidency in a March 20 runoff against a former first lady.

According to the Provisional Electoral Committee, Martelly, 50, of the Campesina Response party, captured 68 percent of the votes, defeating his rival, Mirlande Manigat of the Democratic Nationalists and Progressives Group, who won just 32 percent. Final results are due on April 16.

Martelly accepted his win, promising to work to end poor governance and corruption in the country, the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. Martelly, who does not have political experience, will now be faced with rebuilding the country just 15 months after a devastating earthquake destroyed the capital and left 300,000 people dead.

The results of the first round of voting on Nov. 28 ended in protests in which four people died, after most of the candidates said there had been “massive fraud” so the results would favor ruling-party candidate Jude Celestin.

In early December, the electoral board announced Manigat and Celestin, of the Unity Party, had made it to the second round. But accusations of fraud and international pressure led to a recount that pitted Manigat against Martelly.

The party of outgoing President René Préval saw a big win in parliamentary elections, in which voters elected one-third of the legislature. His Unity Party will have 65 the 99 representatives and 17 of the 30 seats in the Senate. Martelly, who will govern for the next five years, won just three representatives.

The presence in Haiti of two-time president Jean-Bertrand Aristide (1991, 1994-96 and 2001-2004) two days before the second-round, after seven years in exile in South Africa, was applauded by his followers. He criticized the electoral board from barring his Fanmi Lavalas party, one of the largest political forces in Haiti that is largely supported by Haiti´s poor, from the election.

”The exclusion of Fanmi Lavalas is the exclusion of all Haitians,” said Aristide upon arriving in Port-au-Prince.
The other surprise was the arrival of ex-dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (1971-86), who had taken refuge in France for 25 years.
—Latinamerica Press.


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