US Hails Haiti’s ‘Important Milestone’ After Vote

By Dialogo
April 06, 2011

The United States hailed the results of Haiti’s second round of elections as an “important milestone” and urged Haitians to keep their demonstrations peaceful as the process moves forward.

Michel Martelly, a carnival singer who seized the mantle of change, is Haiti’s new president after storming to a landslide victory, preliminary results showed.

“The announcement by the Conseil Electoral Provisoire (CEP) of the preliminary results of the second round of the elections is another important milestone as the people of Haiti move forward to rebuild their country,” the US embassy in Haiti said in a statement.

Martelly, 50, faces the huge challenge of leading efforts to rebuild the Caribbean nation, which was the poorest country in the Americas even before a January 2010 earthquake flattened the capital Port-au-Prince and killed more than 225,000 people.

With 67.57 percent of the vote, the popular singer trounced former first lady Mirlande Manigat, who was vying to become Haiti’s first democratically elected female leader but finished with a disappointing 31.74 percent showing.

“Election-day accounts by Haitian and international observers uniformly reported that, while there were cases of irregularities and fraud on March 20, these cases were isolated and reduced, especially when compared to the first round of voting,” the US statement said.

Washington “calls upon all political actors to resolve any outstanding questions of the electoral results through the contestation process. The Haitian people have shown great perseverance and patience throughout this process, and we hope that they continue to express themselves peacefully,” it added.