PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A leftist folk singer has been declared winner of the race for mayor of Port-au-Prince, defeating an incumbent who had strong U.S. backing and was once considered a likely successor to President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
Citing charges of fraud and other irregularities surrounding last month's polling, incumbent Evans Paul called the results invalid. His administration had received tens of thousands of dollars from the United States to promote democracy in Haiti over the past two years.
Manno Charlemagne, 47, garnered 45% of the vote and Paul, 39, won 18%, the Provisional Electoral Council said. The rest was divided among 18 other candidates.
One U.S. official said the municipal and legislative elections confirmed that Aristide remains the preeminent politician in Haiti. By the official's calculations, Aristide's Lavalas Political Organization will take 75% to 80% of the seats in Parliament. Some seats will be decided in a runoff next month.
Paul remained in Haiti, often in hiding, after the 1991 coup and spoke out against the coup leaders. But before the elections, he broke openly with Aristide, with whom he always had tense relations.
Aristide endorsed neither candidate, but it was commonly felt that his closeness to Charlemagne was an implicit endorsement.
On Wednesday, the United Nations extended its monitoring mission in Haiti for six months, saying the nation still needs help in ensuring human rights.