Wednesday 22 November 2017

Haiti elects musician as president

Jed Yves in Port au Prince

Musician Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly relished the victory of the underdog in Haiti's presidential run-off yesterday.

Preliminary results from last month's election suggested he easily defeated a former first lady for the leadership of a country facing enormous challenges.

Mr Martelly, who has never held political office, received almost 68pc of the vote in the two-way race with Mirlande Manigat, electoral council spokesman Pierre Thibault said in an announcement that was immediately followed by noisy celebration in the capital.

Thousands of Martelly supporters poured into the streets of Port-au-Prince, climbing on to cars and cheering loudly. A huge crowd of singing and chanting supporters marched to his house.

The popular musician, a star of the Haitian genre known as compas, had trailed Ms Manigat in the crowded first-round election in November.

But his campaign gained momentum, with many voters won over by his lack of political experience in a country where the government has failed to provide basic services.

In a message posted in Creole on Twitter, the popular musician thanked his supporters: "Thank you for your confidence. . . We're going to work for all Haitians. Together we can."

The son of an oil company executive, Mr Martelly grew up in Carrefour, part of the urban mass that makes up the capital.

He attended a prestigious Roman Catholic school in Port-au-Prince and junior colleges in the US, though he never graduated. He worked in construction in Miami in the 1980s, a time when he says he occasionally smoked marijuana and crack cocaine.

Irish Independent

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