Initial poll results from the CEP had placed Mr. Célestin, who was endorsed by President René Préval, ahead of Martelly by a margin of less than 1 percent of the vote, with Ms. Manigat firmly in the lead.
A team from the Organization of American States (OAS) analyzed a sample of ballots and suggested Martelly, not Célestin, compete in the run-off election.
The OAS findings were backed by the international community and pushed by the US. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Haiti on Sunday to urge Mr. Préval and the candidates to accept the report’s findings. President Préval had initially balked at the OAS recommendation, but under international pressure, his INITE (Unity) party released a statement last week urging Célestin to step aside.
Martelly, known as “Sweet Micky,” was a colorful kompas musician before turning to politics. His profile as a singer won him support in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s toppled capital. He also received an endorsement from Pras Michel, a Haitian rapper and former member of band The Fugees with Wyclef Jean, who also sought to run for the presidency.
Stevenson Lafond, a 27-year-old voter, recently told the Monitor that he wanted to see a new face in office. “’Sweet Micky’ isn’t a politician. He comes from outside politics and we’ve had enough politicians as president. They haven’t done much for us," he says. "Why not give someone from outside a chance?”