A number of Haitian presidential candidates conceded on Thursday that former President Rene Preval appeared to be heading for an easy victory in the first election since Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted two years ago. Haiti’s electoral council had not released any results from Tuesday’s vote but tallies from some polling stations showed Preval with a large lead in a ballot that could set a new test for U.S. foreign policy.  link

Based upon exit polls and initial results, the Haiti Information Project (HIP) predicts that Rene Garcia Preval has won the presidency of Haiti with a handy 63% of the vote.

Rene Garcia Preval was the former prime minister for six months under Aristide’s first administration before a brutal military coup in September 1991. An agronomist educated in Europe, he is also a former president of Haiti whose term ran from 1996 to 2001.

Preval’s closest rival in the electoral contest, industrialist Charles Henry Baker, is not expected to poll with more than 10%. Leslie Manigat, a former president elected as a military favorite in 1988, actually polled ahead of Baker with an estimated 13% of the votes tabulated.

Baker represents the movement that ousted president Jean-Bertrand Aristide on Feb. 29, 2004. His defeat, and Preval’s victory, signals the end of a U.S.-installed government backed by the United Nations that is accused of widespread human rights abuses including summary executions and false imprisonment.  link

Background & more at Haitian election round-up

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