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Haiti election: Manigat, Martelly and Celestin profiles


The second round of Haiti's presidential election, originally set for 16 January, is now taking place on 20 March.

Former First Lady Mirlande Manigat won November's first round. Initial results put governing party candidate Jude Celestin second.

However, international monitors said the first round had been rigged to edge out third-placed Michel Martelly.

After recounts, it was established that Mrs Manigat and Mr Martelly would be in the run-off.

Mirlande Manigat

Mirlande Manigat, 70, is a Sorbonne-educated law professor who is aiming to be her country's first elected female leader.

She is a leading opposition figure and is running as the candidate of the Assembly of Progressive National Democrats (RDNP), of which she is a founding member.

Mrs Manigat was elected as a senator in 1988 and also briefly became Haiti's first lady following the election of her husband, Leslie Manigat, as president in the same year.

It was a brief stay in the presidential palace, as he was ousted by the military four months later.

Mrs Manigat also ran for the Senate in 2006 but dropped out of the second round in protest at what she said was vote-tampering by the authorities.

Like many of those contesting the first round, Mrs Manigat has promised a new start for Haiti if she is elected.

She argues that education is key to Haiti's future, and has called for a national literacy programme.

Mrs Manigat has also said the constitutional restrictions on dual nationality should be lifted, so that members of the Haitian diaspora can be part of the government.

"There is no doubt that we need the help of our compatriots living abroad, who can bring their youth, their modern education, their economic muscle, their contacts and their desire to come and serve their country," she said.

Mrs Manigat, a grandmother, makes much of her age and experience.

She joined calls by several other candidates for the vote to be cancelled, given the widespread allegations of fraud in the first round, although she quickly backtracked amid reports that she had polled well.

Mrs Manigat is a vice-rector of Quisqueya University and the author of several legal books.

For her own reading, she cites a "weakness" for the novels of Agatha Christie.

Michel Martelly

Michel Martelly, 49, is a political novice but he is used to performing in front of crowds.

Sweet Micky, as he is also known, is a popular singer of Haitian dance music known as kompa.

He often puts on flamboyant shows, with costumes and wigs, and has been known to drop his trousers on stage.

Mr Martelly has enjoyed a following among younger voters and his supporters were quick to take to the streets after initial official results indicated he would not be in the second round, missing out by just 6,845 votes.

Like Mrs Manigat, he initially called for the election to be cancelled but then reversed his position.

Mr Martelly has referred to his musical success in his bid for the presidency.

"He symbolises a renewal of the Haitian music industry as he created a bridge between the old and new generation," reads his website

"Once more, Michel Martelly will be the bridge between our destructive past and the aspirations of the new generation who would care for Haiti to become one of the most prosperous countries in the Caribbean at the service of all its inhabitants."

Making reference to the need to renew and rebuild, he has said government and education need to be reformed.

He is married with four children.

Related Internet Links

  • Mirlande Manigat (in French)

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