No joke as carnival music stops (HB66)

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Post-election political paralysis. Michel Martelly supporters seize control of Port-au-Prince, in response to official election results.

The smoldering ruin of the ruling Inite party’s headquarters on Avenue Lamartinière Port-au-Prince seemed to say it all. The roof was gone and part of the walls had been dismantled – useful building materials when you are still living in a tent or under a tarpaulin. The crowd of onlookers seemed to sport a collective smirk. They had rendered their verdict – not just on the election results but on their government’s performance over the past year.

It was all part of an incredibly well-orchestrated campaign. Within hours of the announcement of the election results just after 9pm on December 7, Port-auPrince had been brought to a standstill. Judiciously-located rubble barricades and burning tyres quickly freed the city’s normally clogged arteries of all traffic. Gaggles of protestors loitered around the embers of huge Inite poster bonfires to make their point to President René Préval and Jude Célestin, his personally selected dauphin.

Would they get the message? That was far from certain.

“This is not how the country is supposed to work,”

an apparently surprised President René Préval lamented the following day in a live radio address. The fact that he thought the country or his government had worked at all since the January 12 earthquake was news to most of his listeners.

“Government? What government?”