Saturday, May 14, 2011

Martelly inaugurated as Haitian president

With all due respect to The Go! Team, the power was both on and off today as Michel Martelly was inaugurated as Haitian president.

During his inauguration speech, he vowed to fulfill his campaign promises including lowering poverty in the poorest country in the Americas as well as speed up rebuilding of areas decimated by a January 2010 earthquake. The fifty-year-old musician also promised that he would modernize the army in order to be "ready to intervene in times of chaos and catastrophe."

While Martelly’s speech stayed “on” message, the ceremony was “off” according to CNN:
In a sign of the nation's troubles, the electricity went out moments before the inauguration, prompting formally dressed dignitaries and guests -- including former U.S. President Bill Clinton and French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe -- to fan themselves to stave off rising May heat.

Immediately, Twitter lit up with posts calling the blackout a "bad sign." Despite the outage, the ceremony proceeded before parliament and Martelly took his oath of office amid the lights of media cameras.
Martelly’s challenges are numerous; aside from those he mentioned in his speech, he will have to contend with political tensions that were worsened due to irregularities in the first round of presidential elections. He may have a tough time going through with his campaign vows since the political party of his predecessor, Rene Preval, controls the Haitian legislature.

One area that could be promising for the new president could be with Haitians living abroad. Last weekend, Haiti’s congress approved a constitutional amendment allowing for dual nationality. Martelly also suggested that Haitian expats “donate” $1 per every $100 remittance in order to help carry out his campaign promise of providing free primary education.

Image- AP via CBC News (“Michel Martelly is sworn in as Haiti's new president inside a Haitian parliamentary meeting room in Port-au-Prince.”)
Online Sources- Monsters & Critics, BBC News, CNN, CBC News, The Latin Americanist
Video Source- YouTube

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