According to reports, Martelly was chosen over the government-backed candidate, Jude Celestin, who was in second place after preliminary results.
The country remained relatively calm but the news was met with mixed reaction. Critics accused the international community of using its “tremendous power and influence” to determine the outcome of the flawed vote. Martelly and Manigat supporters celebrated.
Martelly held a news conference to promote his vision of a “new Haiti” and Manigat hosted a meeting of supporters.
Celestin, who resisted pressure by his political coalition to withdraw from the race under international pressure, did not comment.
“The Haitian people expressed that they want Michel Martelly,” said Martelly, defending criticism that the United States and others helped secure his spot in the runoff. “The victory today, it was not a gift. I don’t think (the international community) has decided the political fate of Haiti. I think that the support they have brought matches the Haitian people’s will toward change. The people voted Manigat, Martelly.”
Election official reviewed 108 disputed results, including 105 for legislative races, also marred by fraud. As a result, some questioned whether Thursday’s announcement would resolve the country’s political crisis.
“It is not clear that a second round will bring stability to Haiti, let alone legitimacy to the new president,” said Robert Fatton, a Haiti expert at the University of Virginia.
“The controversial first round as well as the patterns of foreign interference has left many sectors disenchanted with the process,” he said. “In addition, whoever is elected will have to deal with an unruly parliament and prime minister. So this is a first and small step toward the creation of a new government, but it may well be a detour to a new crisis.”
To avoid a repeat of the problems from the November election, Martelly and Manigat have called for new members of the election council or improvements in the election system. They say election workers need better training, the voter list should be cleaned up, and that access should be provided to party monitors on Election Day.
For months, Haiti has been clouded by political uncertainty, diplomatic wrangling and pressure by the international community, including the United States.
Last month, the top U.S. diplomat to the United Nations warned an earthquake-battered Haiti that it could lose international aid if it did not accept the recommendations of an Organization of American States report.
An OAS team was assembled to review vote tallies and make recommendations after allegations of widespread fraud in the November election.
The OAS report suggested that the election could be salvaged with an improved second round, and recommended that Martely replace Celestin in the runoff.
The suggestion was made after the OAS team reviewed 919 of 11,000 tally sheets, and recommended that 234 tally sheets be excluded because they were irregular or fraudulent. That put a 0.3 percentage point, or 3,225 vote difference, between Martelly and Celestin.
Preval and Celestin, 48, disputed the report, and questioned its methodology.
Preval had promised when he was elected in 2006 to leave his post Monday, the day a new president should have taken office. But last year, the Senate agreed to extend his term until 14 May.
The country also is wrestling with last month’s surprise return of former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier, and the possible return of Aristide, who is in exile in South Africa.
(Contents of this article were obtained from Caribbeannewsnow)