Martelly, Michel Joseph

Martelly, Michel Joseph, 1961–, Haitian musician and political leader. After periods of living in the United States, he returned home in 1987 and became a keyboard player and singer, specializing in compas, a Haitian musical style. Nicknamed Sweet Micky, and known for his flamboyant stage personality, he became one of Haiti's most popular musicians. A relative political novice but popular with the poor and unemployed, Martelly was a candidate in the 2010 presidential election, which was marred by fraud and violence. Ultimately declared the second-place finisher, he handily defeated ex-first lady Mirlande Manigat in the 2011 runoff. Martelly was slow to agree to hold elections during his tenure, which led to the dissolution of parliament and allowed him to rule by decree in 2015. Tensions and unrest over the presidential election resulted in his leaving office in Feb., 2016, without an elected successor.

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