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Wyclef Jean’s Haiti presidential candidacy rejected - World news - Haiti earthquake - msnbc.com

samedi 21 août 2010 par Administrator

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean urged supporters to respond
"peacefully and responsibly" to a Haiti provisional electoral council ruling
that he is not eligible to run as a presidential candidate in the Nov. 28
election.

Singer-songwriter Jean, 40, an international celebrity who is popular in his
impoverished and earthquake-ravaged homeland, was left off the list of approved
candidates published by the council.

Council spokesman Richard Dumel said election officials accepted 19 candidacies
and rejected 15 others. Jean’s candidacy was turned down because he did not
meet the residency requirement of having lived in Haiti for five years before
the election.

Jean said in a blog posted at The Huffington Post : "Though I disagree with the
ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my
supporters to do the same."

He urged supporters to respond "peacefully and responsibly to this
disappointment."

"Ultimately, we must respect the rule of law in order for our island to become
the great nation we all aspire for it to be," he said.

He vowed to continue working for Haiti’s renewal.

"Though the board has determined that I am not a resident of Haiti, home is
where the heart is — and my heart has and will always be in Haiti."

He invoked his daughter’s name, Angelina, who "makes me want to redouble my
efforts to help give all the children in Haiti better days."

He concluded, "Rest assured, this isn’t the end of my efforts to help improve
my beloved country but only marks a new beginning."

The former Fugees frontman earlier was ensconced in a hotel not far from where
the electoral council was deliberating. About an hour before the candidate list
was announced, Jean and his entourage left the hotel without speaking to the
press.

It was unclear what, if any, impact the news would have on the people of this
earthquake-torn nation. Dozens of police and United Nations peacekeepers in
riot gear were stationed outside the council office, but as journalists
streamed out of the building following the announcement, there were no signs of
protests or unrest.

One thing is already certain : The singer brought sizzle to the election,
attracting fresh attention to a country still devastated by the Jan. 12
earthquake.

"His candidacy certainly did shake things up," said Laurent Dubois, a Haiti
historian and professor at Duke University. "But it’s still a very important
election whether Wyclef is in it or not."

The decision had already been postponed once this week. Jean’s supporters had
said they suspected members of Haiti’s political elite were trying to block his
campaign.

Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is struggling to recover from the
devastating January 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people.

Jean, who left his impoverished homeland with his family to live in New York at
the age of 9 and launched his music career in the United States, had presented
arguments his lawyers said showed a "constant presence."

Jean’s jump into politics galvanized the Haitian political scene, triggering
enthusiasm among the country’s restless, widely unemployed youth, who see him
as a refreshing symbol of home-grown hope, and alarm among the traditional
Haitian political elite who seemed to feel threatened by him.

Slogans scrawled in Creole on city walls reading : "Youth supports Youth" and
"Wyclef means change" testified to his support among the young, and youth and
Creole musical groups had already declared their backing for his candidacy.

Some young Haitians said they would not vote in the November elections if Jean
was not a candidate.

"There are a lot of politicians who say they have a lot of experience, big
diplomas, but I don’t see what they have done for this country. We are still
the poorest country in the region," said 19-year-old Ashley Simon.

"The best leader is not necessarily someone who has big diplomas. It is someone
who has a heart and who understands the situation of the people and Wyclef
shows he understands the miserable situation of the Haitian people," he added.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.








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