THE WORLDPOST
05/17/2011 11:23 am ET Updated Jul 17, 2011

Michel 'Sweet Micky' Martelly, New Haiti President, Looks To Rebuild Nation, Ride Wave Of Optimism

Back in 1995 when he was a flamboyant musician with few political aspirations, Michel Martelly quipped that he'd dance naked atop Haiti's National Palace if elected president -- a move emblematic of many Haitians' low esteem for the post.

Now president, instead of dancing on the building, he'll be trying to rebuild it -- physically and symbolically. The white palace still lies in ruins more than a year after a magnitude-7.0 earthquake toppled thousands of buildings in the capital and killed at least 300,000 people. Haiti's challenges include nothing short of rebuilding a nation plagued by poverty and dependent on foreign aid, an immense task for any country. For Mr. Martelly, a political novice with little support among the elite, the task will take on added difficulty.

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