Children's Hope Solidarity Team at MABE Orphanage -- Gressier, Haiti

Children's Hope Solidarity Team at MABE Orphanage -- Gressier, Haiti

Friday, April 8, 2011

Mixed reviews in US for Haiti's president-elect

Jamaica Observer, April 6, 2011

NEW YORK, United States (CMC) — Haitian emigrants in the United States have reacted warily to the victory of popular musician Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly in the French Caribbean Community (Caricom) country's presidential election.
Martelly received nearly 70% of the vote.

Preliminary reports show that Martelly, 50, a father of four and flamboyant figure who sometimes performs while wearing a Scottish kilt, received nearly 70 per cent of the votes cast in the March 20 second run-off presidential poll, defeating former first lady Mirlande Manigat, 70.

Some Haitians here have warned that Martelly could polarise the society.

"He has a double intensity," said Ricot Dupuy, manager and a host at Radio Soleil, which serves the Haitian immigrant community in Flatbush, Brooklyn.

"Those who love him, love him intensely. And those who hate him, hate him intensely," he added.
Brooklyn Shopkeeper Grand Drape said Martelly could be just the man Haiti needs.
"He is good for Haiti," said Drape, 68. "He loves people. He can do something better for the country. Let's give this guy a try."

News of Martelly's win on Monday night was greeted with jubilation and disbelief by Haitians, who both embraced and rejected his presidential bid.

"While Martelly is, indeed, a new leader, the structure of economic power remains the same and the old problems have not disappeared," said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia, who has been following the elections since last year.

"In fact, the key players of yesterday have not vanished. Despite his dramatic eruption, Martelly may well be a case of "old wine in a new bottle,' but time will tell", he added.

Other Haitian observers say that the fact that most of the country's 4.3 million voters sat out the elections cannot be discounted.

They also say the fraud that lawyers inside the Vote Tabulation Centre discovered over the past 14 days, as they scrutinized more than 25,000 presidential tally sheets, is also a major factor.

Haiti's Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) said it would release the final tally on April 16, after an expected appeal from Manigat is heard. According to the preliminary results, Martelly won by a 2-1 margin.
After the results were announced, Manigat's campaign sent a letter to the justice minister accusing CEP president Gaillot Dorsinvil of seeking to influence the results during a late Sunday night visit to the VTC.
Even with the challenge, Haiti's streets remained free of violence that the international community had feared if Martelly had lost.

Although there had been a perception for weeks that Martelly had won, his campaign was unsure of the outcome, even as advisors put him through governance tutorial courses.

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