PORT-AU-PRINCE, CMC – Mirlande Manigat, one of two contenders in Haiti’s runoff president elections last month, says she will not mount a legal challenge to the victory of President-elect Michel “Sweet Mickey” Martelly.
Manigat, a former Haitian first lady, announced her decision on Thursday, through her attorneys, just as Martelly was flying to Miami for an overnight trip.
She said she will not legally challenge the election results because she has “no faith in the process,” adding that she was dissatisfied with “how the election was staged”.
Almost 30 per cent of the votes were tossed out for fraud and other reasons, according to Haitian electoral officials.
Manigat’s attorneys also accused Martelly of breaking elections law on the day the first round results were announced in December, when he, along with presidential candidate Charles Henri-Baker and hip-hop star Wyclef Jean, took to the streets in “carnival-like fashion to protest the election.
“She made the right decision not to contest,” Martelly told reporters here after Manigat’s announcement.
He said Haitians indicated they wanted change when they voted for him in the March 20 presidential runoff. He won the vote by a 2-1 margin.
Martelly, 50, said he plans to focus on the impoverished, French-speaking country’s reconstruction and building up the island-nation’s economy after his inauguration next month.
He said the victory puts him in position to “do more for the Haitian people.”
Martelly said members of his transition team have attended meetings of the reconstruction commission to educate themselves on the recovery efforts, which have been criticized for being too slow.
As president, Martelly will inherit the mammoth task of guiding Haiti’s post-quake reconstruction, while figuring out where to find the money to make good on lofty campaign promises, including free access to education for all.
The President-elect said he will bolster the agriculture sector and focus on peasants because “they have been left out.”
He also said, with Haiti still in a reconstruction phase, that jobs will be created through ongoing efforts to rebuild Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas.
As part of his proposed economic recovery, Martelly said he plans to build Haiti’s tourism industry, claiming that it has been neglected.
Former United States President Bill Clinton said Martelly’s election presents a chance to revitalize efforts to rebuild Haiti.
“This is an enormous opportunity to rebuild the Haitian economy,” Clinton, the special UN envoy for Haitian relief, told the UN Security Council earlier this week.
“The democratic transition of power, to anyone who understands the history of Haiti, is a cause for celebration. This is a remarkable thing.
“Haiti is a small miracle of human nature,” said Clinton, who also headed international programs to assist Indonesia and other South- East Asia countries struck by the 2004 tsunami.
In March last year, the international community pledged about five billion US dollars for short-term reconstruction goals in Haiti.
Clinton said 37 per cent of that amount has been disbursed and urged Martelly to continue the reconstruction efforts and coordinate with the international community and donors in the post- quake programmes.
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