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Haiti certifies presidential win for businessman candidate

by: Associated Press - January 4, 2017
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Supporters of presidential candidate Maryse Narcisse run from national police during their protest against final election results in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Tuesday, January 3, 2017. An electoral tribunal certified the presidential election victory of first-time candidate Jovenel Moise. (Photo: AP)

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A businessman from northern Haiti who has never held political office was certified as the official winner of the November presidential election Tuesday following a ruling by an electoral tribunal that found no evidence of large-scale voter fraud.

The Provisional Electoral Council published final results showing that Jovenel Moise easily won a first-round victory with more than 55 per cent of the votes, the same as the preliminary results that were announced in late November. His nearest challenger, Jude Celestin, had nearly 20 per cent.

Release of the results came hours after a special electoral tribunal announced that it had found some irregularities in the November 20 election but not enough to affect the outcome based on an analysis of 12 per cent of the ballots.

Moise, a 48-year-old from northern Haiti who was chosen by former President Michel Martelly to run as the candidate of his Tet Kale party, defeated 26 rivals in the first round and avoided a runoff.

Several rivals challenged the results, but the electoral judges said they found “there was no massive fraud,” according to the council.

Supporters of Maryse Narcisse, one of the leading presidential candidates representing the Fanmi Lavalas party, burned tires and marched in protest of the electoral tribunal decision while supporters of Moise posted posters and photos of the candidate throughout the capital and called for him to be installed as president. There were no reports of significant unrest.

Authorities annulled an initial October 2015 election that Moise also won after a special commission found significant fraud. The country has been led by an interim president since February 2016.

Moise is to be sworn in on February 7.