Caricom hails victory of Haiti's Preval

BRIDGETOWN

Sunday, February 19th 2006

Trinidad Express

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) has hailed the victory of Rene Preval as Haiti's new President, and looks forward to his participation in the forthcoming annual summit meeting of Heads of Government in July in St Kitts.

Preval, an agronomist by profession, who had served a previous full five-year term as President, was last Wednesday officially declared winner of the February 7 presidential election for which there was a total of 33 candidates.

A redistribution of some 85,000 blank ballots among the candidates, based proportionately on what had earlier been declared valid in their favour, gave Preval the required 51 per cent for victory. That made it unnecessary to face a run-off next month with his nearest rival, Leslie Manigat, who secured about 12 per cent of the overall the results.

In a statement yesterday Caricom said it had received "official communication" from interim government in Port-au-Prince of Prime Minister Gerard Latortue of Preval's declared victory as President- designate.

Caricom said "it is in the interest of all Haitians to respect the outcome of the Presidential elections in keeping with the norms of the democratic process. The Community also calls on all involved in the ongoing process to do everything necessary to enhance and preserve its credibility".

Preval was President of Haiti when his country was granted provisional membership of Caricom in July 1997 at a then annual summit in Kingston, Jamaica.
        
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