Haiti rejects Wyclef Jean's presidential bid

  • Published
Wyclef Jean waves to supporters before the ruling is announced 20 Aug 2010
Image caption,
Wyclef Jean waited for news of the decision at a hotel in Port-au-Prince

Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has been told he is not allowed to run in the country's presidential election.

The 40-year-old singer, who lives in the US, formally registered to stand earlier this month.

But the Haitian constitution requires candidates to have lived in the country for five years prior to an election.

The electoral council, which ruled against Mr Jean's candidacy, has also been deliberating on the applications of other potential candidates.

The country is still recovering from January's earthquake, which killed an estimated 230,000 people and left more than one million homeless.

Electoral council spokesman Richard Dumel said officials had accepted 19 candidacies and rejected 15 others.

Following the ruling, Mr Jean issued a statement saying he respectfully disagreed with the council's decision but accepted it and urged his supporters to do the same.

"We must all honour the memories of those we have lost - whether in the earthquake, or at any time - by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment," he said.

"I want to assure my countrymen that I will continue to work for Haiti's renewal. Although 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."

Haitian President Rene Preval met with the former Fugees frontman on Thursday.

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, the singer said he felt the meeting with Mr Preval - who is barred from standing for another term in the 28 November elections - had gone well.

The musician had argued that his appointment as a roving ambassador for Haiti in 2007 exempted him from the residency requirement.

Earlier this week, Mr Jean revealed he was in hiding after receiving death threats over his presidential bid.

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