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Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly advances in Haiti election over president's pick

Amid pressure from international observers, Haiti's election commission advanced singer Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly into a runoff vote for the presidency against former First Lady Mirlande Manigat.

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That sentiment may play against former First Lady Manigat. A respected career academic, Ms. Manigat “may have a difficult time as president because she does not have a real base in Haitian politics, including in parliament,” says Yves Colon, a Haitian-born professor at the University of Miami.

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“Martelly can probably produce more people, more of a base than Manigat, but it’s going to be difficult for either of them because INITE [Préval’s political party] will still be powerful,” Professor Colon says.

Calls for election results to be annulled

A steady, but often ignored, drumbeat calling for the election to be canceled and held anew has persisted.

Last month, the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a left-leaning think tank in Washington, said its own analysis found "it was not possible to name the top two vote getters" and "suggested holding the election anew."

On Tuesday, the US Congressional Black Caucus released a statement urging “the United States and the international community to uphold the ideals of fairness and support a new Haiti election process that is free and fair, respecting the rights of the Haitian people.”

Baby Doc and Aristide

Amid the tension around the elections, former dictator Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier shocked the country when he returned from exile in France last month. Mr. Duvalier, who says he returned to help the Haitian people, now faces charges ranging from corruption to torture dating to his rule of Haiti from 1971 to 1986.

Duvalier’s return sparked rumors that former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide would attempt to follow suit. That’s exactly what’s happened. Mr. Aristide, who fled after an uprising in 2004 and has been living in South Africa, applied for a diplomatic passport to return to the earthquake-torn country.

In a letter, his Miami-based attorney Ira Kurtzban asked the Foreign Affairs and Interior ministries to expedite the passport and for Haiti to begin talks with South Africa to facilitate Aristide’s return.

Haitian authorities said they would process the passport request, potentially opening the door for Aristide’s eventual return.

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