Jovenel Moise wins presidential election in Haiti

Jovenel Moise wins presidential election in Haiti
Published on November 30, 2016 – By Caribbean News Now contributor
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President-elect Jovenel Moïse

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — Jovenel Moïse, of Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (Haitian Bald Head Party) and the chosen successor of former president Michel Martelly, won the first round of Sunday’s presidential election in Haiti with 595,430 (55.67%) of the votes. Since Moïse won with more than 50 percent of the votes, a runoff election will not be required.

However, the result triggered protests and claims of fraud from opponents, especially as Moïse also came first in the aborted October 2015 vote, which was annulled following allegations of fraud.   

The 48-year-old Moïse is a successful businessman, running a banana export company he sees as a model for rural development.

As president, his task will be to revive Haiti’s economy and rebuild that country as it recovers from a devastating earthquake in 2010, as well as Hurricane Matthew.

The results followed a week of protests and unrest led by supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party, which claimed victory for its candidate, Maryse Narcisse, soon after the election.

According to HaitiLibre, the results announced by Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) president Léopold Berlanger late Monday night indicated that Moïse’s closest rivals were:

Jude Célestin (Ligue Alternative pour le Progrès et l’Émancipation Haïtienne) (LAPEH) — 208,837 votes (19.52%)

Jean-Charles Moïse (Pitit Dessalines) — 118,142 votes (11.04%)

Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas) — 96,121 votes (8.99%)

“The Haitian people made their choice and elected me in the first round. Now, in a spirit of gathering, I invite you, dear compatriots, to join with me on the road of endogenous development for a Haiti to the height of its historical performances and its legitimate ambitions,” Moïse said.

“My brothers and sisters, it is together that we will change Haiti, it is together that we must work to allow every Haitian to live better… I appeal to the youth of the country, to all the Haitians who live abroad, to all the professionals of the country, to engage at my side to put the country upright, because Haiti is on its knees,” he added.

In a statement on Tuesday, the electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Haiti said the preliminary results show significant margins between the number of votes obtained by the candidates contesting the election and are in line with data collected by OAS observers at polling stations on election day.

The mission said it observed substantial advances both on election day and during the tabulation phase compared with prior electoral processes.

The EOM called upon all actors to respect the will of the Haitian citizens, expressed emphatically through the polls.

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  • guyaneseonline  On November 30, 2016 at 11:33 am

    Moise Says He’s Ready For Tests Facing Haiti’s Next Leader

    PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Nov 30 2016 — Repeating their stance from last year’s annulled election, Haitian voters appear to have reached outside the intrigue-heavy political class to pick a first-time candidate to steer the deeply divided country as president for the next five years.

    Jovenel Moise, an entrepreneur who routinely sticks to an optimistic tone, said Tuesday that he is looking forward to the challenge of building consensus with lawmakers and helping fix a political culture perpetually at war with itself.

    “I am working hard to be close with the Parliament because there’s no way a president can work without deputies, without senators,” Moise told The Associated Press in his first interview with an international news agency since officials issued preliminary results indicating he won a Nov. 20 election redo in a landslide.

    If the preliminary results withstand challenges by three of his closest rivals in coming weeks, Moise earned the presidency with 55 percent of the votes in a field of 27 candidates. He got 385,000 votes more than his nearest competitor, Jude Celestin, who had 19 percent of the vote.

    Haiti’s electoral council will not certify the preliminary results until all challenges are resolved by a special tribunal. Electoral winners are to be certified Dec. 29.

    In a presidential election held in October 2015, Moise finished at the top of 54 candidates in first-round results after ads for the government-backed candidate blanketed Haitian TV and radio for weeks. A businessman from northern Haiti, he had never run for office until he was hand-picked to be the Tet Kale party candidate by outgoing President Michel Martelly.

    Opponents quickly alleged fraud by Haiti’s electoral council and Martelly’s political operation. An array of rights groups, local election monitors and others made similar charges. The disputed results were annulled following a review of a special Haitian commission.

    Some critics continue to view his ascent with suspicion, suggesting Martelly is using the candidate as a proxy. Moise laughed off the criticism, saying it is mostly about the snobbery of political elites in the capital.

    “In Haiti, when you come from the countryside, the people here in Port-au-Prince, they think they know everything. But it’s not true and I’m the example. In the countryside you have good people also — with knowledge, with vision, with capacity,” Moise said in the interview at his campaign office.

    The 48-year-old father of three said Martelly would be an adviser when he becomes president, and he wants to study his predecessor’s successes and mistakes. Other previous presidents will also serve as advisers, he said.

    Moise laid out his top priorities for strengthening the hemisphere’s poorest country, a plan that focuses on agriculture, education, energy reform, and foreign investment.

    Reviving an economically blighted countryside, including Haiti’s southwest region, which was devastated by last month’s Hurricane Matthew, is perhaps his main goal as he has repeatedly spoken about agriculture as the engine of his homeland’s fragile economy.

    Although almost 80 percent of rural households farm, agriculture receives less than 4 percent of the government’s budget despite the persistent litany of natural disasters afflicting mostly subsistence farmers.

    During his campaign, Moise touted his business background in agriculture as a central selling point.

    In 2014, he launched the Agritrans banana exporting joint venture with the government on about 2,470 acres (1,000 hectares) in northeast Haiti with a $6 million loan approved by Martelly’s administration. He proudly refers to himself by his campaign moniker, “Neg Bannan Nan” — Banana Man in Haitian Creole.

    His first business venture was an auto parts company in Port-de-Paix, and he also distributed drinking water and created a project to bring renewable energy to several towns.

    Moise’s first hurdle is getting past electoral challenges from other candidates. Electoral authorities say they will thoroughly investigate all accusations of irregularities.

    A revamped Provisional Electoral Council has been trying hard to show that the Nov. 20 election, organized with mostly Haitian resources, was clean in a country where accusations of vote-rigging and election fraud have long been common and are sometimes accurate. But three of the council’s nine members declined to sign the preliminary tally sheet, one of them telling local radio that he was “uncomfortable” with the results.

    A monitoring team from the Organization of American States said Tuesday that its observations were in line with Haiti’s preliminary tally.

    Robert Fatton, a Haitian-born politics professor at the University of Virginia, said he wasn’t surprised that losing political factions are claiming vote-rigging again. “This is the traditional way of dealing with defeat in Haiti,” he said.

    Fatton noted that in spite of some irregularities and logistical problems, the election was perceived by virtually all observers, both national and foreign, as fair and free.

    “The next few weeks and months will be bumpy and will test Jovenel Moise’s statecraft and capacity to move the country in a new and hopeful trajectory,” he said. (AP)

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