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Haiti presidential vote hailed a success

media Everywhere in Port-au-Prince are plastered posters of Mirlande Manigat and Michel Martelly, as well as former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Reuters/Shannon Stapleton

Haitian authorities on Monday hailed Sunday’s election run-off as a success after the electorate voted for its new president amid relative calm. The poll had been delayed for months by bickering over a violence-plagued first round in November.

The election pitted Mirlande Manigat, a 70-year-old academic and former first lady, against Michel Martelly, a popular singer a political novice.

Martelly had originally been excluded from the second round with the ruling party candidate Jude Célestin taking his place.

Martelly’s exclusion, which was later rectified when he was reinstated at Célestin’s expense, gave rise to violent protests across the country.

Jenny Asarnow reports from the polls in Port-au-Prince, Haiti 21/03/2011 Listen

Nearly five million voters cast their ballot on Sunday, eclipsing the dismal numbers in November’s first round when only 23 per cent of Haiti’s 4.7 million eligible voters went to the ballot box.

Despite reports of irregularities, Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) President Gaillot Dorsinvil called the vote a “triumph of democracy”.

France on Monday gave the second round election a clean bill of health.

"The second round of elections in Haiti took place in a satisfactory manner” and “the mobilisation of a large number of voters, which resulted in an increase in participation is a success” said foreign affairs ministry spokesperson Bernard Valero.

While in most parts of the country the election proceeded peacefully, two people were killed in election-related incidents, authorities said.

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