PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Businessman Jovenel Moïse has been officially declared the winner of Haiti's presidential election, held in November.
The Provisional Electoral Council announced Tuesday that Moïse defeated 26 other candidates in the Nov. 20 election.
The election was a do-over election, scheduled after the original presidential election, held in October of 2015, sparked mass protests alleging fraud. Its results were ultimately nullified. The second election was postponed several times, including by Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 4, and finally held on Nov. 20.
An electoral court rejected allegations of massive election fraud. A judges' panel discovered some irregularities during verification of 12 percent of the ballots, but the council said it wasn't enough to sway the outcome.
Moïse, 48, was declared the winner with 55.60 percent of the vote. Jude Celestin, the former head of the state construction agency, finished second with 19.57 percent. Celestin and two others demanded the verification. Celestin's totals rose by 849 votes and Moïse's dropped by 4,503. More than 1 million valid votes were cast.
Celestin told the Miami Herald the CEP didn't handle the challenge to the results correctly. "They are definitely hiding something."
Moïse, the 58th president, promised on Facebook that his five-year term will be marked by "active will and vigilant pragmatism opposed to the ambient immobility."
U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement the publication of the final presidential results is "a positive step for the full restoration of that nation's democratic institutions."
Kirby added, "We urge all actors to accept the final results, refrain from violence, and work together to build a stable and prosperous Haiti."
Haiti has had an interim president, Jocelerme Privert, since last February.
Moïse, who is expected to take office by the constitutional Feb. 7 deadline, is from northern Haiti. He ran as a member of the Bald Heads Party and was supported by former President Michel Martelly.