Wyclef Jean registers as Haiti presidential contender

Fri Aug 6, 2010 4:21am EDT
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By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Haitian hip-hop star Wyclef Jean registered as a presidential contender on Thursday, in a move into politics that generated an outburst of popular enthusiasm in his poor, earthquake-ravaged homeland.

"I would like to tell (U.S.) President Barack Obama that the United States has Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean," the three-time Grammy award-winner told cheering supporters in a downtown area of Port-au-Prince.

"This is the only president who will dance when Creole hip-hop is being played," Jean, 40, said in a speech after formally declaring his candidacy for the November 28 presidential election.

He filed papers at the electoral council to run as a candidate for the Viv Ansanm (Live Together) political party, as excited young supporters clad in white and red T-shirts emblazoned with the words "Fas a Fas," the party's youth movement, packed the surrounding streets.

The registration was required ahead of a Saturday filing deadline and authorities now have until August 17 to approve or reject his candidacy for the November 28 ballot.

"If his candidacy is approved, I think he's going to be the next president," said Saurel Magloire, who was among those gathered outside the electoral council.

Since former populist President Jean-Bertrand Aristide ran for the country's top job in 1990, Magloire said he had never seen such a big outpouring of public support.

Jean, standing and waving to onlookers from the open sun-roof of his sport utility vehicle, drew repeated chants of "Long Live Wyclef" and "President Jean" as his impromptu motorcade later wound its way through the densely packed streets of the capital.   Continued...