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How 'Sweet Micky' Martelly transformed from carnival singer to Haiti president

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The US embassy endorsed the tally, calling the announcement "another important milestone as the people of Haiti move forward to rebuild their country.... while there were cases of irregularities and fraud on March 20, these cases were isolated and reduced, especially when compared to the first round of voting."

If the results stand, Martelly will have made a startling run from political outsider to president of a country in desperate need of strong leadership. Evidence of the January 2010 earthquake still remains widespread, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in tents, rubble on the streets, and the vast majority of people in the capital unemployed.

Embracing a flamboyant past

Martelly seems an improbable savior. Just a decade ago, he was donning skirts and wigs, cursing, and drinking like a sailor while performing his flamboyant act.

“When he first declared himself a candidate, people didn’t take him seriously because he was the guy who dropped his pants on stage,” says Robert Fatton, a Haitian-American professor at the University of Virginia. “His persona, which should have been a handicap, became a plus. It was really a very clever campaign.”

Instead of turning his back on his flamboyant past, Martelly used pieces of it to motivate the youth vote and to position himself as a political outsider. The bubble gum pink splashed on his campaign posters and vehicles was a nod to his old act, as were the rallies, during which he mixed policy with stagemanship.

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