Wyclef Jean expected to run for Haiti president

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Singer Wyclef Jean plans to run for president of earthquake-ravaged Haiti and will announce his candidacy in the coming days, a former parliament leader and the entertainer’s brother said Tuesday.

Former Chamber of Deputies leader Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques told the Associated Press the Haiti-born hip-hop artist and former Fugees frontman will run as part of his coalition in the Nov. 28 election.

After the AP first reported the story, Mr. Jean’s brother, Samuel Jean, confirmed that the singer would announce his intentions in a televised interview from Haiti on Thursday after filing required documents with the electoral council.

“We all believe he meets the constitutional requirements and he can do it,” the brother said by phone from his consulting office in Los Angeles.

Mr. Jean’s spokeswoman, Cindy Tanenbaum, confirmed that the entertainer planned an announcement Thursday but said she did not know specifics. She added that Mr. Jean was preparing a political communications team.

Dozens of candidates are expected to compete for the presidency in the Nov. 28 contest, among them Mr. Jean’s uncle Raymond Joseph, who is Haiti’s ambassador in Washington. Other likely candidates include former prime ministers, mayors and another popular Haitian musician, Michel “Sweet Micky” Martelly.

Controversy already surrounds the election as opponents accuse President Rene Preval of stacking the deck for an as-yet-unamed candidate of his recently formed Unity party. He has ignored calls from U.S. senators and others to reform the eight-member, presidentially approved electoral council ahead of the vote and ensure the participation of all parties.

The Organization of American States pledged support last week as the electoral council struggles to deal with the loss of thousands of polling places and a wrecked voter registry. The election will chose a president, 10 senators and 89 members of parliament’s lower house.

Mr. Jean-Jacques, who will be seeking to return to the currently dissolved Chamber of Deputies in the election, said Mr. Jean will be a candidate for a new coalition that calls itself Ansanm Nou Fo, which translates as “together we are strong” in Creole.

“Yes, we have an agreement (with Mr. Jean), but he’s the one who has to announce it first,” Mr. Jean-Jacques told the AP, declining to elaborate on their political plans.

The singer’s brother did not confirm with which party the singer would be running.

Candidates for the Nov. 28 election must declare by Saturday.

The possibility remained that Mr. Jean could change his mind or be declared ineligible to run. He must prove to the electoral council that he has resided in Haiti for five consecutive years, own property in the country and have no other citizenship but Haitian.

Past officials have disqualified some candidates on technicalities while allowing others with apparent ineligibilities to seek office.

Mr. Jean was born outside Port-au-Prince but left as a child and grew up in Brooklyn.

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