Martelly confirmed Haiti’s next president

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Thursday April 21, 2011 – The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) has confirmed that former singer Michel Martelly will take over from René Préval as the country’s new president next month.

The announcement yesterday was expected after his opponent, former first lady Mirlande Manigat, said she would not challenge Martelly’s victory in the March 20 election run-off in which he got almost 68 percent of the vote.

The CEP did not release the final results of the legislative elections which were held on the same day as the presidential run-off, however.

Martelly is expected to take office on May 14.

The incoming president was congratulated on his victory by the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton yesterday, as he met with her in the United States.

“I also congratulate the people of Haiti on the election. It not only affirmed and strengthened the foundations of Haiti’s democracy; it also helped shine light on the work that has been done and the work that still has to be done to recover from the damage of the earthquake and firmly set Haiti on a path to long-term stability and development, and perhaps most importantly, this election offered the people of Haiti an opportunity to give voice to their dreams for their country’s future,” she said.

“And now it will be up to Mr. Martelly and his government to do everything in their power to help achieve those dreams.”

She said she believed Martelly had what it would taks to respond to Haiti’s challenges which include recovery from the January 2010 earthquake, a cholera epidemic, the upcoming hurricane season, unemployment overcrowding of prisons, and implementing judicial reform.

“We know this takes leadership, which we have seen Mr. Martelly exhibit in his very vigorous campaign. We know it takes political will, which we know he has; a commitment to transparency and good governance, and to getting results for people. I am very encouraged by the campaign that Mr. Martelly ran, his emphasis on the people and their needs, his willingness to be very clear in what he hoped to achieve on their behalf, and now he has a chance to lead and we are behind him. We have a great deal of enthusiasm,” Clinton said, promising Martelly and the people of Haiti that “the United States will be with you all the way.”

Martelly thanked Clinton and the Barack Obama administration and said he was ready to transform his campaign promises into an action plan.

He expressed concern, though, that Haiti’s reconstruction process has been “despairingly slow”.

“Clearly, I have huge challenges in front of me, but I intend to meet them. In spite of the generous donations of the American citizens, which have reached US$1.2 billion received by 53 NGOs, and in spite of the donation by the Government of the United States of $1.5 billion, we still have 1.7 million people who still live under tents after 15 long months of waiting,” he said.

“The cholera epidemic, if it is not contained and if Haitians are not vaccinated, threatens to extend itself to the entire country during the upcoming rainy and hurricane season. In addition, starting on June 1st, the country will have to confront up to 16 hurricanes anticipated next summer.”

Martelly said recovering and restarting the economy is a fundamental necessity for his government and he intends to work relentlessly towards the reconstruction of the framework of international aid, to give new life to the business sector and to develop the capabilities of government institutions and of civil society.

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