Political neophyte and singer Michel Martelly appears to have won in the recently-held national election in Haiti against presidential candidate and former first lady Mirlande Manigat.
Martelly is winning by landslide, getting at least 68 percent of the vote, according to a preliminary report announced by the Provisional electoral council.
"Celebrations erupted in the scruffy capital Port-au-Prince as cheering, jubilant Martelly supporters flooded the streets, singing, waving his portrait and setting off fireworks." Reuters/Yahoo News reports
Photo by USAID_IMAGES
View of on-going efforts by search and rescue teams at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. This view is looking at where the front entrance and lobby used to be.
Martelly thanked voters in a brief statement on his Twitter account: "We'll work for all Haitians. Together we can do it."
"Martelly's victory implies a rejection of the political class that has both governed and been in the opposition," said Robert Fatton, Jr., a Haiti expert and professor in the University of Virginia's Department of Politics.
"Martelly captured the mood of the voters by cleverly using his 'bad boy' image to enhance his status as the ultimate 'outsider' who symbolized change," he told Reuters.
The neophyte politician, who has no previous experience in government, faces a difficult task of rebuilding his earthquake-devastated country amid lingering economic and social problems brought about by apparent misrule during the past administrations.
UNICEF Haiti report
Children in Haiti still need help a year after the earthquake.
"On top of handling billions of dollars in foreign aid, the new president will be tasked with leading the country through the reconstruction from last year’s earthquake that has left the capital covered in debris: Some 800,000 people live in tent camps in the capital, still displaced from the January 2010 earthquake that damaged or destroyed 188,383 homes and killed some 230,000 people. A cholera epidemic that began last fall continues to spread."csmonitor reports.
The run-off election is seen as a key to restoring confidence on the impoverished nation from donor countries who have withheld a large portion of committed aid for the rebuilding of the earthquake-devastated country.
Martelly, who is popularly known as "Sweet Mickey" is a performing and recording artist, composer, and musical sociopolitical activist.
Sweet Mickey was born on February 12, 1961 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. He is married to Sophia and has four children.
Martelly has been heralded as a pioneer of a unique brand of kompas music, a style of Haitian dance music sung in Haitian Creole language.