PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A businessman from northern Haiti who has never
held political office was certified last week as the official winner of the November
presidential election following a ruling by an electoral tribunal that found no evidence
of large-scale voter fraud.
The Provisional Electoral Council published final results showing that Jovenel Moise
easily won a first-round victory with more than 55 per cent of the votes, the same as
the preliminary results that were announced in late November. His nearest challenger,
Jude Celestin, had nearly 20 per cent.
Release of the results came hours after a special electoral tribunal dismissed allegations
of massive fraud, announcing that it had found some irregularities in the Nov. 20 election
but not enough to affect the outcome based on an analysis of 12 per cent of the ballots.
Moise, whose business ventures include a large banana farm in the north of the country,
pledged on Twitter that the five-year mandate that has been entrusted to him by the
Haitian people will be a productive one.
A 48-year-old chosen by former President Michel Martelly to run as the candidate of his
Tet Kale party, Moise defeated 26 rivals in the first round and avoided a runoff.
Several rivals challenged the results, but the electoral judges said they found “there was
no massive fraud,” according to the electoral council.
Supporters of Maryse Narcisse, one of the leading presidential candidates representing
the Fanmi Lavalas party, burned tires and marched in protest of the electoral tribunal
But within hours there were many more supporters of Moise celebrating in the streets
downtown as word of his victory spread. There were no reports of significant violence.
Authorities annulled an initial October 2015 election that Moise also won after a special
commission found evidence of apparent fraud. The country has been led by an interim
president since February 2016.
Moise is to be sworn in on Feb. 7.