It seems that most good news from Haiti is unavoidably tempered by some sobering news. Today the latest developments in the country seem to follow that pattern as well.
The good news first:
With 67 percent of the vote, Michel Martelly has been declared President-elect of Haiti. The popular singer with the clean-shaven head used his showmanship to captivate voters with engaging messages and memorable campaign events. Martelly defeated former first lady Mirlande Manigat in a runoff, bringing some kind of completion to this phase of the country’s political uncertainty.
However, on the same day that Haitians selected their new president, aid groups are reporting that the country is facing a second wave of its cholera crisis.
As Haiti begins the process of rebuilding its leadership, there are questions about whether or not Martelly is the right choice. The 50-year old, has no government experience, a critic his opponents often raised against him on the campaign trail. Speaking on yesterday’s results, Robert Maguire, director of the Haiti Program at Trinity University in Washington said:
“Martelly has asked Haitians to take a tremendous leap of faith that he can transform himself from entertainer to national leader. Apparently, a significant majority of voters are willing to give him that chance.”
Being the president of the poverty plagued country has always been a challenging task, undoubtedly made exponentially harder since the quake last January. It remains to be seen how he will rise to the challenge.