[JURIST] Initial results from the February 7 presidential election [JURIST report; BBC backgrounder] in Haiti indicate that Rene Preval [BBC profile; Wikipedia profile], a former president and ally of ousted leader Jean-Bertrand Aristide [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] has won with over 60 percent of the vote. If the current results are certified the simple majority of votes for Preval will circumvent the need for a second-round vote in March. Leslie Manigat [BBC backgrounder; Wikipedia profile], also a former president, currently trails Preval with 13.4 percent of the vote. Charles Baker [BBC backgrounder; Wikipedia profile], representing voters opposed to Aristide, has 6.1 percent.
The election marks the first national vote since Aristide was ousted from power [JURIST report] two years ago. Preval has distanced himself [AP report] from Aristide's Lavalas Family Party [party website, in French] by voicing support for the UN peacekeeping force in place throughout the Caribbean nation, but has also said that he would not oppose Aristide's return from South Africa. Reuters has more.