Wyclef can't appeal Haiti poll exclusion: council

Tue Aug 24, 2010 4:46pm EDT
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By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) - A ruling by Haiti's electoral council that disqualified hip-hop star Wyclef Jean from running for the presidency is final and cannot be appealed, a council lawyer said on Tuesday.

The Haitian-born and U.S.-based singer-songwriter said on Sunday he would appeal against the provisional electoral council's decision on Friday which rejected his candidacy for the November 28 election in the poorest state in the Americas.

Council officials said Jean, who left his homeland with his family at the age of 9 to live in the United States, did not meet residency requirements.

The 40-year-old musical celebrity has an enthusiastic youth following in Haiti and the dispute over his candidacy has raised some fears of tensions that could disrupt the country's rebuilding after a devastating earthquake in January.

But apart from some small pro-Jean protests, the capital Port-au-Prince has remained largely calm and quiet.

Jean initially accepted the ruling and asked supporters to do the same. He has since launched a barrage of accusations via Twitter, Facebook and statements to U.S. media against the council, calling it corrupt and politically motivated.

Samuel Pierre of the council's legal department told Reuters that, under article 191 of Haiti's electoral law, rulings by the election authority's disputes tribunal are definitive and cannot be appealed.

"Therefore there is absolutely no possibility for Wyclef Jean to be added to the list of candidates approved to run in the next presidential elections," Pierre said. "So it's over."   Continued...

<p>Haitian singer Wyclef Jean, a candidate for the next presidential election in Haiti, attends a news conference before his concert at the Antilliaanse Feesten music festival in Hoogstraten, August 13, 2010. REUTERS/Sebastien Pirlet</p>