Michel Martelly

Haiti’s new President

A popular singer whose political inexperience proved to be an asset among an electorate disillusioned by the ineffectiveness of its leaders, Martelly made it in the second round of presidential voting with help from the OAS, and defeated former First Lady Mirlande Manigat in a run-off contest held in March 2011.  Although his margin of victory was decisive, turnout was less than 20%, and Martelly is all but certain to encounter governance problems, as he is unaccustomed to navigating Haiti’s very difficult political waters.  He has pledged to step up post-earthquake reconstruction efforts and improve security conditions, which he has correctly identified as a major obstacle to attracting the investment that will be essential to boosting living standards.  However, his proposal to re-establish the country’s military force is a source of great concern among lawmakers whose support will be essential to securing passage of his government’s program.

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