Rene Preval and his Second presidency

He was first elected to the post of Haiti's President with a staggering 88% of the popular vote. René Préval again ran for president as the Lespwa candidate but, unlike his first election, this proved not to be a clear-cut victory. When early voting results were released on February 9, they indicated a 60% favorable voting for Préval. This number slipped to 48.7% as more ballots came in and a run-off became necessary.

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There were celebrations soon after for the former president, but his comment on February 14, that fraud was at play in the vote counting and that he should be declared the winner of the first round, caused a series of protests to erupt. Port-au-Prince was crippled by torched barricades and protestors stormed the Hotel Montana, demanding the results of the election. Finally, on the 16th, after excluding blank ballots from the count, President Préval officially won his second term as the Haitian head of state with 51.15% of the votes.

His first duties included signing an oil deal with Venezuela and making visits to the US, France and Cuba. Further plans for an oil refinery and power plants, and a road system plan with transportation and trade in mind were indicative of the steady rise of the Haitian economy that had begun. Préval was soon congratulated and welcomed by world leaders including those from Venezuela, Cuba and the United States.

However, the disquiet that had marked his re-election returned in 2008 with a series of riots over the rising cost of basic foods like rice up 50%. Préval promised agricultural solutions to boosts Haiti's self-sufficiency, but continuing discontent and the vote to remove his chosen Prime Minister from office forced him to reduce the price of rice and use international aid to subsidize it.

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Read more: rene preval, president, Election, Cuba, Haitian President, France, LESPWA, Venezuela, Hotel Montana, Food Crisis, Government

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