Singer Wyclef Jean’s attempt to run as Haiti’s president has ended after election officials disqualified his candidacy.
The hip-hop star, who grew up to become a multi-millionaire in America after his family emigrated when he was 9, urged his young supporters to remain calm after the announcement.
“Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same,” the former Fugees frontman said.
Haiti’s electoral commission did not say why it had disqualified Jean, 40, but the star had faced a challenge to his candidacy in the elections because he has not lived in Haiti for the past five years as required.
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Jean’s announcement that he was going to run was greeted with huge enthusiasm among the young of the poverty-stricken Caribbean island, which is still recovering after a terrible earthquake in January in which 300,000 died.
The singer’s wealth, fame and enthusiasm for his Haitian roots made him revered in the nation’s slums. But many questioned whether Haiti really needed a pop star to solve its acute problems.
It was not clear what policies Jean would have pursued, but he promised to use his fame to attract international aid funding, especially for education.
Not all Haitians were convinced.
“I don’t think he’s a politician at all,” said Etienne St. Cyr, a pastor who helps at a camp for homeless earthquake survivors at the Petionville Country Club. “Maybe he’s not what we need right now.”