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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Wyclef Jean Weighs Run for President of Haiti


Musician's Yele Haiti foundation raised millions for his homeland in wake of devastating earthquake

By Daniel Kreps

Wyclef Jean is reportedly considering running for president of his native Haiti. Jean, whose Yéle Haiti foundation helped raise millions of dollars for his homeland after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti earlier this year, told Canadian newspaper La Droit that he was weighing his political options, later admitting to CNN, "I can't sing forever." Jean has until August 7th to fill out the necessary paperwork to launch a bid for Haiti's five-year presidency. The country's current president, Rene Preval, is barred by Haiti's constitution from seeking another term.

While Wyclef's brother Sam Jean told E! that there is a "very good chance" the musician will run for president and the paperwork had already been filled out, Wyclef still hasn't confirmed his candidacy, writing on Twitter, "Just to Clear up the rumors I have not announce to the Press that I'm Running for President of Haiti." A statement from Yele Haiti echoed Jean's tweet: "Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward. At this time, Wyclef Jean has not announced his intent to run for Haitian president. If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately."

Hope for Haiti Now: Read Rolling Stone's live blog of the all-star telethon.

Wyclef recently told the Associated Press that while he would be involved in some capacity with the November 28th presidential elections in Haiti, it would likely not be a candidate. "Do I have political intentions? At this time no. But what I do have is a movement — it's called AFACeAFACe. The youth population... we are going to encourage them to vote," Jean said. Sam Jean added that the youth population is lobbying most aggressively for Wyclef to run for president. "It's not really coming from him, to be honest. Most of the population in Haiti is under the age of 26, I believe, so the youth have really clamored to him. They're the ones who are really excited and have said to him, 'Hey, why don't you run for president,'" Sam Jean told E!

Wyclef's possible presidential bid comes amid allegations that the singer misused funds from Yéle Haiti in the years prior to the earthquake. One report claims Jean paid a Haitian TV station $250,000 he owed using money from the charity. While Jean publicly admitted that his foundation had made some operational mistakes in the past, he denied that he profited in any way off his charity.