Elects new president today
Around 4.7 million Haitian voters will go to the polls today (20th March 2011) to elect a new president.
In the second round of elections the runoff is between 70 year old Mirlande Manigat and 50 year old Michel ‘Sweet Mickey’ Martelly. The first round took place on 28th November 2010 when 19 candidates stood. Mirlande Manigat easily won the first round but there was controversy over second place with Martelly finally being approved by the Provisional Electoral Council (PEC) after Jude Celestin withdrew. Martelly has been leading in recent opinion polls.
In recent weeks the election has been further complicated by the return of two former presidents, Jean Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier (1971 – 1986) who was arrested on corruption charges upon his arrival; and Jean Bertrand Aristide (1994 – 1996 & 2001 – 2004). Neither has endorsed either of the current candidates.
1186 polling centres will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. local time with 200 observers from the Organisation of American States, 100 from French speaking nations, 20 international organisations and a myriad of Ambassadors and diplomats watching.
The PEC will publish preliminary results by 31st March and final results on 16th April 2011.