Thursday, April 21, 2011

Martelly named winner in Haiti's presidential election

Michel Martelly, pictured in Washington DC on April 21, won the second round of the election with 67.57% of the vote.( It's official. The bad boy of Haitian music is now the troubled nation's new president.

Haiti's electoral council officially declared Michel Martelly the winner of a presidential election that was drawn out since the first round of voting in late November due to irregularities.
Martelly won the second round of the election with 67.57% of the vote, defeating rival Mirlande Manigat, a former first lady.
Martelly responded to the announcement on Twitter. "Begin to take our tools, to clean our country, to get to work," he said in Creole.
Martelly's candidacy was unexpected -- he was better known as Sweet Micky, the kompa singer with flamboyant stage presence. He appealed to voters who had grown weary with the status quo and what they perceived as a lack of progress after the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Even before his presidency had been made official late Wednesday, Martelly was making the rounds in Washington.
"Clearly, I have huge challenges in front of me, but I intend to meet them," he said after a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday.
"The reconstruction process is despairingly slow," he said, citing it as a key complaint of the electorate. "This is why recovering and restarting the economy is a fundamental necessity for my government."
Clinton pledged U.S. support for progress in Haiti, referring to Martelly by his campaign nickname: Tet Kale.
"Now I'm told the literal translation of that slogan is bald head, which doesn't need any further explanation," she said. "But Tet Kale is also an expression that means all the way. And the people of Haiti may have a long road ahead of them, but as they walk it, the United States will be with you all the way.
Many of Haiti's earthquake-affected residents are still without homes and living at risk in makeshift tent cities. Martelly will have to deal with the herculean tasks of rebuilding and restarting the economy.
He has promised transparency, and will have to deal with the corruption that has plagued previous administrations.
"This is why I plan on working relentlessly towards the reconstruction of the framework of international aid, to give new life to the business sector, and to develop the capabilities of government institutions and of civil society," he said.
Martelly will be inaugurated May 14 in Port-au-Prince.

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