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Wyclef’s bid fizzles out

marciadottin, [email protected]

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PORT-AU-PRINCE – Haiti’s electoral commission has said that hip hop artist Wyclef Jean cannot run for president, ending his bid to lead a country struggling to recover from the January 12 earthquake.The Provisional Electoral Council approved 19 candidates and rejected 15, spokesman Richardson Dumel told journalists late Friday, without providing justification for the decisions.Jean faced a challenge to his candidacy in the November 28 elections because he has not lived in Haiti for the past five years as required.He later issued a statement urging his supporters to remain calm and respond “peacefully and responsibly to the disappointment”.“Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same,” he said.Jean had apparently been aware which way the decision would go. The 40-year-old entertainer had been in a hotel near the Electoral Council office but left abruptly without speaking to journalists about an hour before the announcement. He issued his statement later.
While rejecting Jean, the board approved two leading presidential candidates, former prime minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis and Yvon Neptune, who was the last prime minister under ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and has been active in helping to coordinate reconstruction efforts.Jude Celestin, head of the government’s primary construction firm and the candidate supported by President René Preval, and Michel Martelly, a well known Haitian singer known as Sweet Mickey have also been given the nod to contest the polls.But the Electoral Council rejected the candidacy of United States Ambassador Raymond Joseph, who is Jean’s uncle.Preval is barred running for re-election in the election under the constitution.Jean, who gained fame as a member of the hip hop musical group Fugees before building a solo career, had no political organisation, not much of a following beyond fans of his music and only a vagueplatform, casting himself as an advocate of Haiti’s struggling youth and saying he would ask reconstruction donors to help the country’s dysfunctional education system.He also has faced persistent criticism over alleged financial mismanagement at the charity he founded, Yele Haiti. (CMC)