November 5, 2015 / 10:33 PM / 3 years ago

Ruling party candidate leads presidential election runoff in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Ruling party candidate Jovenel Moïse led voting in Haiti’s Oct. 25 presidential election with 32 percent, followed by former government executive Jude Célestin with 25 percent, according to official results announced on Thursday.

A runoff for the presidential race in the Western hemisphere’s poorest country is scheduled for Dec. 27.

The winner will succeed President Michel Martelly next February.

A political newcomer, Moïse, 37, owns a banana-exporting business in the north of the country, while Célestin, 53, is a Swiss-educated mechanical engineer who previously headed a government construction agency.

Moïse represents the ruling Parti Haitien Tet Kale (Haitian Party of Bald Heads) named after Martelly’s famously smooth scalp. Célestin heads the LAPEH Party (Alternative League for Progress and Emancipation of Haiti).

The pair came out on top of a field of 54 candidates, according to the president of the election council, Pierre Louis Opont.

Reporting by Reuters in Port-au-Prince; Writing by David Adams; Editing by Chris Reese and Ken Wills

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