From the Washington Post:
Tens of thousands of Haitians poured into the streets of this cramped capital Thursday morning, banging drums and waving banners to celebrate an unusual compromise that handed Haiti's presidency to Rene Preval and ended a nine-day electoral crisis.
Preval was awarded the presidency after days of intense negotiations with the interim government that rules Haiti and with international diplomats. The negotiators agreed not count more than 80,000 blank votes, nudging Preval past the 50 percent he needed to win the presidency without a runoff...Preval ended up with 51 percent of the vote after the compromise, enough to avert a runoff but short of an overwhelming mandate to lead this impoverished nation. His supporters are mindful of the issue of legitimacy in Haiti, which has been riven by political strife for decades.
Preval, who was president of Haiti from 1996 to 2001, is the only leader of this country in modern history to complete a full five-year term. Others, including his mentor, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, have been toppled by a succession of coups.
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