Successful polls a sign of Haitians’ yearning for better future – UN envoy

Special Representative Edmond Mulet briefs press

8 April 2011 – The United Nations envoy for Haiti said today that the recent successful electoral process in the Caribbean nation is a demonstration of the resilience of its people and an indication of their determination to build a better country for themselves.

“We are very satisfied with the process,” Edmond Mulet, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Haiti, told reporters at UN Headquarters. “The will of the people was recognized [and] there is a new generation coming to power in Haiti,” he said.

Preliminary results indicate that popular musician Michel Martelly won the presidential runoff poll last month with 67.57 per cent of the votes, beating his challenger, former first lady Mirlande Manigat, according to Mr. Mulet, who is also the head of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). Ms. Manigat has indicated that she does not intend to contest the results, he said.

Mr. Mulet said a definitive outcome of the legislative elections remains unclear because in 20 constituencies, the ballot difference between candidates is less than five per cent. “There are a handful of places where tensions remain high,” Mr. Mulet said, adding the MINUSTAH had deployed military and police units in such places to help the national police maintain order.

The final results of the electoral process will be announced on 18 April, a week before the new parliament convenes.

Mr. Mulet said the UN recognized the achievements of the outgoing President René Préval, including ending the culture of State-sponsored violence and polarization of the country’s politics, respecting the freedom of press, and presiding over democratic elections that will allow the handing over of power to an opposition leader for the first time.

He said MINUSTAH had established contact with Mr. Martelly who told the mission that the rule of law will be his priority.

“We do encourage the president-elect – the executive branch – to work with the legislative branch,” he said. He noted that Mr. Martelly’s party will have three deputies in the 99-seat national assembly, a fact that underscores the need for dialogue.

“Haitians have proved that they want a better country,” Mr. Mulet said, stressing the need to establish an atmosphere conducive to development, job creation and foreign investment.

In an open debate on Haiti at the Security Council on Wednesday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pledged the continued assistance of the UN for the country, which, he said, while having made significant gains in recent months, still faces a number of daunting challenges such as reviving its crippled economy and strengthening the rule of law.

He commended the people of Haiti for the important step towards the consolidation of democracy, adding that it builds on the gains the country has made, with the support of MINUSTAH, towards security, respect for basic freedoms and an end to the State-sponsored violence.


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