PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti — Jovenel Moïse, of Parti Haïtien Tèt Kale (Haitian Bald Head Party) and the chosen successor of former president Michel Martelly, won the first round of the Nov. 20 presidential election in Haiti with 595,430 (55.67 per cent) of the votes. Since Moïse won with more than 50 per cent of the votes, a runoff election will not be required.
However, the result triggered protests and claims of fraud from opponents, especially as Moïse also came first in the aborted October 2015 vote, which was annulled following allegations of fraud.
The 48-year-old Moïse is a successful businessman, running a banana export company he sees as a model for rural development.
As president, his task will be to revive Haiti’s economy and rebuild that country as it recovers from a devastating earthquake in 2010, as well as Hurricane Matthew.
The results followed a week of protests and unrest led by supporters of former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party, which claimed victory for its candidate, Maryse Narcisse, soon after the election.
According to HaitiLibre, the results announced by Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) president Léopold Berlanger late Monday night indicated that Moïse’s closest rivals were:
Jude Célestin (Ligue Alternative pour le Progrès et l’Émancipation Haïtienne) (LAPEH) — 208,837 votes (19.52 per cent)
Jean-Charles Moïse (Pitit Dessalines) — 118,142 votes (11.04 per cent)
Maryse Narcisse (Fanmi Lavalas) — 96,121 votes (8.99 per cent)
“The Haitian people made their choice and elected me in the first round. Now, in a spirit of gathering, I invite you, dear compatriots, to join with me on the road of endogenous development for a Haiti to the height of its historical performances and its legitimate ambitions,” Moïse said.
“My brothers and sisters, it is together that we will change Haiti. It is together that we must work to allow every Haitian to live better… I appeal to the youth of the country, to all the Haitians who live abroad, to all the professionals of the country, to engage at my side to put the country upright, because Haiti is on its knees,” he added.
In a statement on Tuesday, the electoral observation mission of the Organization of American States (EOM/OAS) in Haiti said the preliminary results show significant margins between the number of votes obtained by the candidates contesting the election and are in line with data collected by OAS observers at polling stations on election day.
The mission said it observed substantial advances both on election day and during the tabulation phase compared with prior electoral processes.
The EOM called upon all actors to respect the will of the Haitian citizens, expressed emphatically through the polls.