How 'Sweet Micky' Martelly transformed from carnival singer to Haiti president
Preliminary results from Haiti's presidential election show that Michel Martelly, also known as 'Sweet Micky,' won in a landslide victory.
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The other side of the candidate was presidential. “He managed to, in a way, be all things to all people, which is very hard to do in politics,” Professor Fatton says.Skip to next paragraph
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“He took the advice of a lot of very smart people and that was important,” Professor Colon says.
Martelly hired Madrid-based Ostos & Sola, a consultancy that played an important role in the election of Mexico’s Felipe Calderón. Martelly’s public point man at Ostos & Sola helped run the John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.
They positioned him as the candidate of change. And “Martelly tapped into a very strong desire on the part of the Haitian people who were looking for hope in a candidate, someone who was not a professional politician,” Colon says.
He also had some help along the way. Martelly initially did not qualify for the run-off election. Preliminary results from the first round placed him third and out of the running for the second round.
But after a review of votes by international electoral monitors and heavy international pressure, including a visit by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, President René Préval’s hand-chosen candidate was dropped from the ballot.
That put Martelly in line to face Ms. Manigat, a Sorbonne-educated academic and wife of former President Leslie Manigat. While politically she and her 20-years-younger opponent were both conservative, they could not have been more different stylistically.
Now that Martelly appears to be going from candidate to president, the focus will become his agenda.
In a November interview with The Monitor, Martelly said he wants to focus on getting earthquake victims out of tent cities and on investing in the agricultural sector.
But moving those proposals through parliament will take negotiating, Colon says. A downside of being a political outsider is the lack of connections within the political establishment.
“He doesn’t have any support in parliament. Not in the senate or in the lower house,” he says. “And he does not have any experience managing anything but a band. Let’s hope that he again surrounds himself with smart people.”