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, Forbes reports.
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 in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.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, and Edmond Mulet, head of the U.N. mission that has maintained order in Haiti since 2004. Also present was Desi Bouterse, the president of Suriname who is on trial for the 1982 executions of 15 political opponents.
Former Haiti President Rene Preval took off the presidential sash and put it on Martelly as they shook hands and embraced, but did not say anything 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 was to deliver a speech.
Outside the gated Parliament, more than 1,000 Martelly supporters gathered.
For the original report go to http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/05/14/general-cb-haiti-inauguration_8466662.html
Photo for AFP by Hector Retamal.