PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Musician Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly scored a come-from-behind victory Monday in Haiti’s presidential runoff, according to preliminary results from last month’s election showing the 50-year-old Martelly easily defeated a former first lady for the leadership of a country facing enormous challenges.

Martelly, who has never held political office, received nearly 68 percent of the vote in the two-way race with Mirlande Manigat, electoral council spokesman Pierre Thibault said in an announcement that was immediately followed by noisy celebration in the Haitian capital.

Thousands of Martelly backers poured into the streets of Port-au-Prince, carrying Martelly posters, climbing onto cars and cheering. A huge crowd of supporters marched to his house.

“Today is a big day for me,” said Jeanor Destine, 22. “We’re finished with the old government and want to bring in a new government. We’ve been through so much misery. That’s why we’re supporting Martelly.”

The musician, a star of the Haitian genre known as compas, had trailed Manigat in the crowded first-round election in November. But his campaign gained momentum in the second round, with many voters seemingly enchanted with his lack of political experience in a country where the government hasn’t provided basic services.

In a message posted in Creole on Twitter, Martelly thanked his supporters: “Thank you for your confidence. … We’re going to work for all Haitians. Together we can.”

Haiti’s electoral council said that about 23 percent of the 4.7 million registered voters cast ballots. Serge Audate, an elections official, said about 15 percent of the tally sheets had problems suggesting possible fraud and had to be quarantined. Final results are to be announced April 16.

 


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