Electoral council declares businessman Jovenel Moise the winner of the November 2016 vote despite fraud allegations.
Jovenel Moise has been declared the winner of Haiti’s November 20 presidential election, ending a protracted electoral process that has paralysed the Caribbean country’s politics for more than a year.
The Haiti provisional electoral council said on Tuesday that Moise was the majority winner with 55.6 percent of the vote. Turnout was low at a reported 21 percent.
Moise, previously a little-known businessman, was chosen to run on behalf of the Tet Kale party of former president Michel Martelly, who ended his term without an elected successor.
The 48-year-old president-elect runs a banana export company that he sees as a model for rural development, and on the campaign trail he branded himself as “Banana Man”.
He is expected to be sworn in on February 7 and will take over from interim president Jocelerme Privert who came to power in 2016.
An October 2015 vote, which had also seen Moise win, was scrapped after an independent commission found massive fraud. There were no major incidents reported in the November 2016 ballots.
“There was no massive fraud in the election. There were irregularities which did not affect the electoral process,” said the electoral council.
Opponents, however, challenged the council’s announcement, according to which Moise came first, defeating 26 other candidates.
According to Nicole Simeon, the council’s spokesperson, Moise’s closest rival garnered 19.5 percent of the votes.
Supporters of other leading candidates marched in the capital’s streets in protest against the electoral council’s decision.
The Fanmi Lavalas party supporters called for the placement of their candidate as president instead, while supporters of left-wing candidate Jean-Charles Moise also protested after initial results were released in October 2015.
Although witnesses reported hearing heavy gunfire in the capital’s streets on Monday, there were no signs of significant unrest.
Haiti has been struggling to rebuild after a devastating hurricane hit the country in 2010. The storm killed 1,000 people and left more than one million in need of humanitarian assistance.
SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies