Jovenel Moise officially confirmed as Haiti's new president


Businessman Jovenel Moise will be sworn in as Haiti’s new president next month after an election tribunal rejected allegations of massive voter fraud during November’s elections.

On Tuesday, Haiti’s election tribunal announced that “there was no massive fraud in the election” despite there being recorded instances of “irregularities which did not affect the electoral process.”

Moise is expected to take office by the constitutional deadline on February 7. A successful banana exporter and first-time candidate, he ran for former President Michel Martelly’s Tet Kale (PHTK) party. He won more than 55 percent of votes cast in the November 20 election.

However, several campaign rivals challenged the result, including supporters of Maryse Narcisse, the candidate put forward by ex-President Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s Fanmi Lavalas Party.

November’s first-round election was a repeat of the October 2015 election, which Moise also won. That result was later annulled, however, after a special commission found significant voter fraud. Haiti has been led by interim president Jocelerme Privert since February 2016.

Protests continue

Opponents of Moise have repeatedly claimed they would never accept the PHTK candidate’s victory.

After Tuesday’s announcement, Narcisse supporters marched in the streets of the capital, Port-au-Prince, to protest the electoral tribunal’s decision. At the same time, supporters of Moise posted photos and posters of the winning candidate.

According to The Associated Press news agency, there were no reports of significant violence between the different political camps.

Challenges ahead

Significant challenges lie ahead for Moise once he takes office. Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. With an economy highly dependent on agriculture, the island nation has been severely impacted by a series of devastating natural disasters.

The country is still reeling after Hurricane Matthew, a Category 4 storm, tore through the island in October, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million in need of humanitarian aid. The UN has estimated that around 80 percent of crops have been lost in some areas.

Haiti was still recovering from a devastating 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 100,000 people, when the hurricane hit.

dm/cmk (AP, Reuters)