A look Haiti's presidential election

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Saturday, March 19, 2011; 6:02 PM

-- A look at Sunday's elections in Haiti:



Voters are choosing one of two candidates in the second round of the presidential election as well as seven senators and 77 members of the Chamber of Deputies. The announcement in December of the first-round presidential results sparked nearly three days of rioting that shut down the capital. The Organization of American States eventually determined those results were flawed and the government-backed candidate was dropped from the runoff. Whoever becomes president will face severe challenges, including a cholera outbreak, an opposition-controled legislature and anger over the stalled reconstruction from the devastating January 2010 earthquake.



The presidential candidates could not be more distinct. Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly, 50, is a brash musician, considered a master of a Haitian style of music known as compas. He has never held public office, has no college degree and a history of notoriously crude stage antics. His opponent is Mirlande Manigat, 70, a university administrator, former first lady and longtime fixture on the Haitian political scene. She would be Haiti's first woman elected president, though not the first to hold the job - an honor held by a supreme court justice who was provisionally appointed to the post following a military coup in 1990.



The two candidates have similar agendas, promising to provide universal education in a country where only half the children attend school and to build houses in a country that has seen little reconstruction. Both have said they want to restore Haiti's armed forces, eliminated by President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995 after years of abuses, and provide government services in the countryside. The campaign has largely been about the candidates' distinct personalities while Martelly has enjoyed a boost for his popularity among urban youth and his outsider status.



Preliminary results expected March 31; final results due April 16.

© 2011 The Associated Press