'Sweet Micky' promises change for Haiti

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The Independent US

The president-elect wore a conservative grey suit for his first news conference since his election victory as Haitians wondered how this charismatic musician with a bad-boy past would govern the country in crisis.

As he did on the campaign trail, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly avoided any specifics about how he would lead, but distanced himself from his outrageous stage persona as he spoke of reconciliation with political opponents and improving the lives of the hundreds of thousands still struggling to cope in the aftermath of the earthquake of January 2010. "I would like to say that I have always had the desire to change my country," Mr Martelly said. "I have a passion to change my country."

Many Haitians are wondering just what sort of change Mr Martelly, 50, will bring to a country that is confronting problems on many fronts, including the stalled reconstruction from the earthquake, a cholera outbreak, hundreds of thousands of homeless and more than half the population unemployed. Asked about his priorities for his first three months in office, Mr Martelly, who has never held office, dodged the question like a seasoned politician: "Our common-sense tells us that in the 100-day period, we will barely have the time to build a small house."

He added: "We are not going into specifics at this time," he said, citing a need to "surprise" people.