François "Papa Doc" Duvalier is Elected President of Haiti by a Vote of 1,320,748 to Zero

Magloire resigned the presidency in December, 1956, leaving Haiti to be ruled by a succession of provisional governments.

Through an election viewed as rigged by the Army (FADH), Duvalier won the presidency in September 22, 1957. His opponent was Louis Déjoie, a mulatto industrialist from the North of Haiti who had dozens of farms and some factories. He described Louis Déjoie as part of the ruling mulatto class that was making life difficult for the country's rural black majority. He had campaigned as a populist leader, using a noiriste strategy of challenging the mulatto elite, who had created a class structure that divided the country, and appealing to the Afro-Haitian majority. The official tally was a majority for Duvalier with 678,860 votes against 264,830 for Déjoie. After being sworn in on October 22, Duvalier exiled most of the major supporters of Déjoie and started to revive the traditions of vodou, later on using them to consolidate his power as he claimed to be a houngan, or vodou priest himself.

Duvalier deliberately modeled his image on that of Baron Samedi in an effort to make himself even more imposing. He often donned sunglasses to hide his eyes and talked with the strong nasal tone associated with the loa. Duvalier regime propaganda candidly stated that "Papa Doc: was one with the loas, Jesus Christ, and God himself." The most celebrated image from the time shows a standing Jesus Christ with hand on a seated Papa Doc's shoulder with the caption "I have chosen him". There was even a Duvalierist variant of the Lord's Prayer.

The period between the fall of Magloire and the election of Duvalier in September 1957 was a chaotic one, even by Haitian standards. Three provisional presidents held office during this interval; one resigned and the army deposed the other two, Franck Sylvain and Fignolé. Duvalier is said to have engaged actively in the behind-the-scenes intrigue that helped him to emerge as the presidential candidate that the military favored. The military went on to guide the campaign and the elections in a way that gave Duvalier every possible advantage. Most political actors perceived Duvalier--a medical doctor who had served as a rural administrator of a United States-funded anti-yaws campaign before entering the cabinet under Estimé--as an honest and fairly unassuming leader without a strong ideological motivation or program. When elections were finally organized, this time under terms of universal suffrage (both men and women now had the vote), Duvalier, a black, painted himself as the legitimate heir to Estimé. This approach was enhanced by the fact that Duvalier's only viable opponent, Louis Déjoie, was a mulatto and the scion of a prominent family. Duvalier scored a decisive victory at the polls. His followers took two-thirds of the legislature's lower house and all of the seats in the Senate.