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US Praises Haiti Election Results as ‘Milestone’


Haitian President-elect Michel Marthelly, left, reacts after the preliminary elections are announced, indicating he won the second round of the vote, in Peggyvillle, Haiti April 4, 2011

Haitian President-elect Michel Marthelly, left, reacts after the preliminary elections are announced, indicating he won the second round of the vote, in Peggyvillle, Haiti April 4, 2011

The United States has hailed Haiti's presidential election as "an important milestone" after singer Michel Martelly was declared the winner of a runoff round.

In a statement, the U.S. embassy in Haiti urged Haitians to "continue to express themselves peacefully" as the new government takes power. It also called on "all political actors" to resolve any outstanding questions about the electoral results.

On Monday, Haiti's electoral council declared Martelly the winner of the presidential runoff election, based on preliminary results

Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly (l) with singer Wyclef Jean after announcement of preliminary election results in Haiti, April 4, 2011

Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly (l) with singer Wyclef Jean after announcement of preliminary election results in Haiti, April 4, 2011

The results announced Monday gave Martelly nearly 68 percent of the vote to defeat former first lady Mirlande Manigat. Final results are due to be released April 16.

Martelly, who has no political experience, has a tough job in front of him. Much of the capital Port-au-Prince is still in ruins from the January 2010 earthquake. Hundreds of thousands still live in tent camps,

A cholera epidemic has killed thousands and the country is rife with poverty and unemployment.

Manigat won November's first round presidential election, with ruling party candidate Jude Celestin initially declared the second place finisher and eligible for the runoff.

The results set off deadly protests by Martelly supporters.

An Organization of American States review found fraud and recommended that Martelly be declared the runner up and eligible for the second round instead of Celestin.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.

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