Jovenel Moise clinches Haiti presidency, poll fraud ruled out

© REUTERS/Jeanty Junior Augustin Winner of Haiti's presidential election Moise speaks during an interview in Port-au-Prince

Haitian businessman Jovenel Moise was declared the official winner of November presidential elections in the impoverished Caribbean nation on Tuesday, after an electoral tribunal ruled out allegations of massive fraud at the polls.

Moise, who ran for former President Michel Martelly's Bald Heads Party (PHTK), won with 55.6 percent of votes cast in the Nov. 20 election, with closest rival Jude Celestin second at 19.5 percent, said electoral tribunal spokeswoman Nicole Simeon.

Supporters of ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide's Fanmi Lavalas Party had also claimed victory for their candidate, Maryse Narcisse, while backers of leftist candidate Moise Jean-Charles also protested after preliminary results were released.

However, the electoral tribunal said the outcome stood.

"There was no massive fraud in the election. There were irregularities which did not affect the electoral process," the tribunal said ahead of Moise's confirmation as president.

Heavy gunfire was heard in parts of the capital on Monday. Opponents of Moise have repeatedly said they would never accept the victory of the candidate of Martelly's PHTK party.

Haiti is still recovering after Category-4 Hurricane Matthew tore through the nation, killing up to 1,000 people and leaving 1.4 million in need of humanitarian assistance.

Moise, 48, won an October 2015 first-round election that was later scrapped over fraud allegations. He is expected to take office by the constitutional deadline of Feb. 7, 2017.

A successful banana exporter, Moise would take the reins from interim president Jocelerme Privert, who took power after Martelly left without an elected successor in February, 2016.

As president, Moise would face the daunting task of reviving Haiti's economy and rebuilding a country that was still recovering from a 2010 earthquake when the hurricane hit.

Haiti: Jovenel Moise confirmed winner of presidential election

Haitian businessman Jovenel Moise has been officially declared winner of November's presidential election.

Mr Moise, a 48-year-old banana exporter, was elected with 55.6% of the vote, well ahead of his closest rival, an electoral tribunal confirmed.

Officials dismissed allegations of fraud. But some protesters marched in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The poorest country in the Americas, Haiti has been led by an interim president since last February.

It has been blighted by political instability for decades, and is vulnerable to natural disasters. Haiti is still recovering from Hurricane Matthew, which killed up to 1,000 people in October.

On Tuesday, the electoral tribunal confirmed preliminary numbers released in November. Mr Moises's closest rival Jude Celestin, had 19.5% of the vote.

The president-elect, from the centre-right Haitian Tet Kale Party and backed by former President Michel Martelly, is expected to take office by 7 February.

The election was held on 20 November, more than a year after the previous poll was annulled following allegations of widespread fraud.

That vote, in October 2015, was won by Mr Moise but the opposition challenged the result and after violent unrest the ballot was annulled.

Some protests erupted after the results were confirmed, but there were no reports of major violence.
Haiti has been led by interim President Jocelerme Privert since February 2016 when Mr Martelly stepped down at the end of his term.

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