Singer Michel Martelly Elected Haiti President

Michel Martelly is moving his act from the carnivals to the National Palace after the popular singer came out as the likely winner in the Haiti presidential election held last month.

Martelly, who is known for his outrageous performances and his own brand of Compas music, leads former First Lady Mirlande Manigat by a wide margin—67.6 percent to 31.5 percent—based on preliminary results released by Haiti’s election council on Monday. Martelly’s unlikely victory over the administration-supported Manigat came despite doubts about the 50-year-old carnival singer’s capacity to help Haiti rise from the ruins caused by the devastating January 2010 earthquake and stop other problems including an ongoing cholera outbreak.

Martelly, popularly known in Haiti as “Sweet Mickey,” ran on a promise to bring change to the poor country. He also pledged to bring back the country’s armed forces, which were dissolved by former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995 in a bid to prevent military-aided coups.