Haiti and Wyclef Jean await election candidates list

Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:56pm EDT
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By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean's bid to run for Haiti's presidency hung in the balance on Friday as the earthquake-ravaged Caribbean country waited for its electoral authority to publish the final list of approved candidates.

U.N. and Haitian police guarded the provisional electoral council headquarters in Port-au-Prince to prevent any trouble as feverish expectations mounted over which of the 34 original contenders would be on the confirmed list for the November 28 presidential election.

Late on Thursday, a council member, who asked not to be named, told Reuters that locally popular 40-year-old singer-songwriter and international celebrity Jean was not on the list because he failed to satisfy several legal requirements.

It was feared his exclusion and that of other contenders from the electoral race on legal grounds could stir political tensions and even possible violence. Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, is struggling to recover from the devastating January 12 earthquake that killed up to 300,000 people.

The electoral council had postponed from Tuesday until Friday the announcement of the list of approved candidates.

Key among the complicating requirements for Jean was believed to be a stipulation candidates needed to have had five consecutive years of residency in Haiti.

Jean, who left his impoverished homeland with his family to live in New York at the age of 9 and launched his music career in the United States, had presented arguments his lawyers said showed a "constant presence."

In a message on his Twitter account, Jean said: "We await the decision of the Electoral Council,To see if I made the list as a Candidate. As it is written So Shall it be Done!"   Continued...