[QODLink]
Americas
Martelly declared president of Haiti
Singer turned politician vows to prioritise education, agriculture and homes for earthquake victims.
Last Modified: 21 Apr 2011 06:45
Hillary Clinton welcomed Martelly as president as he visited Washington on Wednesday [AFP]

Singer Michel Martelly has officially been declared Haiti's next president.

Pierre Thibault, a spokesman for the electoral commission, said on Wednesday that Martelly won the presidency with 67.6 per cent of the vote, defeating rival candidate Mirlande Manigat.

The announcement ends a long, drawn-out election that began on November 28 and was marred by fraud and other irregularities, several days of rioting and numerous delays.

Martelly, who had no previous political experience before he became a presidential candidate, is scheduled to be inaugurated on May 14.

On the same day that Haitian officials announced the final results, Martelly met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. He said he spoke with Clinton about his three priorities: education, finding homes for people living in tents since an earthquake in January last year devastated much of the country, and restarting Haiti's agricultural sector.

At a news conference, Martelly admitted he had "huge challenges'' ahead of him. He called reconstruction efforts "despairingly slow." He also stressed the need to tackle the cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 4,700 lives since October. He warned that the coming hurricane season could spread the disease countrywide.

Clinton said she welcomed Martelly as president.

"Now he has a chance to lead, and we are behind him,'' she said.

Election officials also released final results for legislative elections held at the same time as the presidential poll, showing that the political party of outgoing President Rene Preval has a majority in the senate.

There is concern Martelly, whose Repons Peysan party won only a handful of parliamentary seats, will struggle with the tricky politicking required to push through badly needed reforms.

Senator Joseph Lambert told AFP news agency that Preval's INITE (Unity) party was already trying to form a coalition government.

Last year's earthquake killed more than 225,000 people, displaced 1.5 million, and left the capital in ruins.

On Wednesday, 53 members of the US Congress wrote to Clinton urging her to work with the Haitian government on providing rapid support for the displaced people lacking adequate shelter, water, sanitation
and security.

Thirty-eight percent of resettlement camps still lack regular water supplies, their letter said. Nearly a third of camps don not have toilets. Where toilets are provided, each one is shared by an average of 273 people.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.