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Wyclef Jean might run for Haitian presidency

by Julia
July 27, 2010 at 11:39 am

Wyclef Jean, former Fugees member, might run for president of Haiti, says a statement issued by his family.

After René Préval, the current President of Haiti, named Wyclef Jean in 2007, the Honorary Ambassador of the Caribbean State, numerous speculation arose about his running for the 2010 presidential race.

In an e-mail to several reporters, Wyclef Jean’s family says that “Wyclef’s commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward.

“If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately.”, says the same statement.

Wyclef’s spokeswoman confirmed the authenticity of the message.

Haitian President René Préval is not present in these elections, he no longer has the right to run for another presidential term.

Wyclef Jean, aged 37, was born in a suburb of Port-au-Prince, but he left Haiti – considered the poorest country in the northern hemisphere – and raised in Brooklyn, New York.

But in order to enroll in the presidential race, Wyclef Jean will have to prove he has resided in Haiti for five consecutive years, own property in the country and have never been a citizen of any country other than Haiti.

The musician has recently announced its intention to engage in the future elections to be held on November 28, but not necessarily as a candidate.

“Do I have political intentions? At this time no. But what I do have is a movement – it’s called Face a Face, Face to Face,’ Jean said. ‘The youth population… we are going to encourage them to vote.” says Wyclef Jean.

The singer has been active in recent years in raising money through his Yele Haiti Foundation.

This foundation was widely criticized in recent months because of financial irregularities after the January 12 earthquake that devastated Haiti.

The media has found that Yele Haiti Foundation paid him certain amounts to play in some charity events and bought some advertising space from a television station he co-owns. The foundation hired a new accounting firm after the allegations surfaced.

Wyclef Jean, who said he voted for René Préval in 2006, would not have an easy road as a candidate as Haitian elections are contentious and often violent.

Dozens of candidates are expected to declare themselves by the August 7 deadline.

Preval’s opponents have threatened to block the November 28 vote if he does not replace the presidentially approved electoral council, which he has refused to do. Whoever wins in the November elections will have the huge task of rebuilding a country devastated by the earthquake of January.

Haiti doesn’t have a functioning economy for decades and its presidents have only rarely completed a constitutional five-year term – more typically being overthrown, assassinated, declaring themselves ‘president-for-life’ or some combination of the three.

Wyclef Jean, is the former member of hip-hop group The Fugees. In 2008 he launched a program to combat hunger, supported by World Food Programme (EAP), the Pan-American Foundation and a mobile phone company.

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