Wednesday, December 15, 2010


(Miami Herald) - By Trenton Daniel

Singer ``Sweet Micky'' Martelly says a January election should be open to all

PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Michel Martelly, a presidential candidate whose supporters led sometimes violent demonstrations in Haiti after he was eliminated from a runoff, called Tuesday for all 17 candidates to participate in a new round of voting in January.

Instead of a runoff between the top two candidates on Jan. 16, Martelly said a new election should be held -- with the candidate getting the most votes winning the presidency.

``It's only like that that I can believe things can recover, that I can have confidence with the retabulation, that the country can reclaim confidence in the electoral process,'' Martelly said at a news conference at his heavily-guarded home in the Port-au-Prince suburb of Petionville.

``If that doesn't happen, I don't believe people can go out in the next election, for it to have legitimacy and respect from the population and international community,'' said Martelly, who finished fewer than 7,000 votes behind second-place finisher Jude Célestin in the Nov. 28 presidential election.

Pending appeals, Martelly has been eliminated from the runoff. But there have been charges that the election was marred by fraud and Martelly's supporters claim the election was stolen from their candidate.

Preliminary election results released on Dec. 7 sparked two full days of unrest that crippled the capital city of Port-au-Prince and a few other cities. Martelly supporters and other anti-government protesters erected burning barricades and threw rocks at cars.

Police say at least two people were killed.

To break the electoral impasse, election officials proposed a commission that would review the tally sheets of Célestin, the candidate favored by President Réne Préval; Mirlande Manigat, a university provost and the first-place finisher; and Martelly.

Candidates have until Wednesday to file appeals with the electoral council and the final results are scheduled to be released Dec. 20.

But Martelly said the Provisional Electoral Council should be dissolved and a new one formed.

Martelly didn't propose where funding would come from for a second round that would include all 17 candidates. Some foreign diplomats say there is no more money available to pay for new elections. The United States paid $14 million of the $29 million needed for the current election.

Also on Tuesday, the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission -- the agency in charge of reconstruction efforts -- plans to meet in the Dominican Republic rather than Port-au-Prince due to the instability in the Haitian capital.

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