Entertainment & Arts

Musician Wyclef Jean to run for Haiti president

Wylclef Jean during an interviewed on the Fox Business Network, July 23, 2010
Image caption Wyclef is a popular figure in his home country

Haitian-born musician Wyclef Jean has said he will run for president of the earthquake-hit Caribbean country.

The Fugees star will officially announce his candidacy on Larry King's CNN show on Thursday, media reports say.

Haiti is scheduled to elect a new leader on 28 November.

The country was hit by a devastating earthquake in January which killed more than 250,000 people.

Wyclef, who is ambassador-at-large of Haiti, told Time magazine that the devastation that followed the earthquake had motivated him to make a bid for the leadership.

"If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," Jean said.

"The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st Century."

Wyclef, who lives in New York, is founder of the humanitarian Yele Haiti Foundation, and has played a prominent role in securing aid since the earthquake that left 1.5 million people homeless.

The singer and producer, who left Haiti as a child and grew up in Brooklyn, also plans to build a bridge between the Haiti and the Haitian diaspora in the US.

'Secret weapon'

Wyclef is hugely popular in Haiti where half of the population is under 21-years-old.

He told Time his secret weapon in the election campaign would be that Haiti's "enormous youth population doesn't believe in politicians any more".

Others who have declared their candidacy include the former diplomat Garaudy Laguerre and Raymond Joseph, Haiti's current ambassador to the US and Wyclef's uncle.

Other likely candidates include former prime ministers and another popular Haitian musician, Michel Martelly, also known as "Sweet Micky".

Candidates have until 7 August to register.

Current President Rene Preval is barred by the constitution from seeking a new term.

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