The businessman from northern Haiti who has never held political office, was certified as the official winner of the November 20 presidential election Tuesday, after a ruling by a tribunal that found no evidence of large-scale voter fraud.
A preliminary tally gave a big victory to Jovenel Moise, the 48-year-old banana plantation owner from northern Haiti who was chosen by former President Michel Martelly to run as the candidate of his Tet Kale party.
The Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) published final results which shows that the 48 year old Jovenel Moise easily won a first-round victory with more than 55 per cent of the votes. This is the same as the preliminary results that were announced in late November. His nearest challenger, Jude Celestin, had nearly 20 per cent.
He defeated 26 rivals in the first round and avoided a runoff by topping his closest challenger by more than 385,000 votes.
Only 21 per cent of Haiti’s voters participated in the election, which was called after an October 2015 election was annulled when a special commission reported finding what appeared to be significant fraud and misconduct. Moise also finished first in that vote count.
Release of the results came hours after a special electoral tribunal announced that it had found some irregularities in the November 20 election but not enough to affect the outcome based on an analysis of 12 per cent of the ballots.
Several rivals challenged the results, but the electoral judges said they found "there was no massive fraud," according to the council.
Supporters of Maryse Narcisse, one of the leading presidential candidates representing the once powerful Fanmi Lavalas party founded by ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, burned tires and marched in protest of the electoral tribunal decision while supporters of Moise posted posters and photos of the candidate throughout the capital and called for him to be installed as president.
The country has been led by an interim president since February 2016.
Moise is expected to be sworn in on February 7.
Haiti, the first country in the Western hemisphere to liberate itself from European slavery and gain independence, is now the most impoverished country in the Western Hemisphere, after more than 200 years of continued imperialist aggression, both overt in the form of extortion, invasion, and occupation by France, Britain, and most recently the U.S., as well as covert, by international "aid" organizations and NGO’s.
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