Monday, April 4, 2011

And the winner of Haiti's presidential election is…

allegedly Michel Martelly.

According to several news reports, an unnamed “senior official” representing the Provisional Electoral Council claimed that the musician easily won last month’s runoff vote. The anonymous source supposedly cited preliminary results that were supposed to be announced last Thursday. According to those results, roughly three out of four voters selected Martelly over former first lady Mirlande Manigat.

The final count and the confirmation of the person who will replace current President Rene Preval are expected to be announced on April 16th.

Even though there was very little turmoil on Election Day last month, security forces worry that violence could erupt with the announcement of the next president-elect. One prominent Martelly backer may’ve helped stoke those fears:
Pras Michel, a Martelly supporter and a Haitian-American rapper formerly of the Grammy-award winning hip hop group The Fugees, was accused of followers on his Twitter account of inciting violence when at 9 p.m. Sunday, he tweeted: Machete + gasoline + matches = the will of the people.

Followers responded by asking why was he preaching violence, while Martelly supporters quickly denounced him, saying he doesn’t speak on behalf of the presidential candidate. Michel, who was seen in Haiti Saturday night at the bar at the upscale Karibe hotel in Petionville, later removed the tweet.
Haiti’s next president will have to face a myriad of problems including expanding education opportunities for youth, reconstruction after a major earthquake over a year ago and crushing poverty. The next leader will also have to tackle a legislature controlled by Preval’s party and whose presidential candidate was disqualified after an apparently rigged first round of elections.

Image- AP/Nicolas Garcia via CTV News (“Electoral workers count the votes after the closing of polling stations in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010.”)
Online Sources- MSNBC, UPI, The Latin Americanist, Miami Herald, NPR, New York Daily News

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