PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Charismatic pop star-turned-president Michel Martelly took over Haiti on Saturday, promising to rebuild its earthquake-devastated capital, develop the long-neglected countryside and build a modern army.

The 50-year-old performer known to Haitians as “Sweet Micky” was swept to power in a March 20 presidential runoff by Haitians tired of past leaders who failed to provide even basic services, such as decent roads, water and electricity.

Martelly was sworn in during a power outage in front of dozens of dignitaries including former U.S. President Bill Clinton, the U.N.’s special envoy to Haiti. Former Haiti President Rene Preval took off the presidential sash and put it on Martelly as they shook hands and embraced, but did not speak to each other.

Martelly’s wife, Sophia, then came on stage and adjusted the sash as their four children joined them.

Martelly did not speak as he left Parliament for the National Palace, where he was to deliver a speech. Outside the gated Parliament, more than 1,000 Martelly supporters gathered.

“Today is a party for us, for the masses, because the country is destroyed,” said Esaue Rene, a 28-year-old mechanic who has high hopes for Martelly. “I would like him to bring jobs so that people aren’t sitting around in public plazas because they don’t have anything else to do.”

Political observers say speeding up the multibillion-dollar reconstruction effort is paramount.