Haiti candidacy a 'wild card' says hip hop star Wyclef Jean

Hip hop star Wyclef Jean said today he was confident that Haiti election officials would accept his candidacy to run for president despite doubts over whether he meets the residency requirement.

The former Fugees frontman spoke while in hiding, following death threats, in a white stucco building on a rutted, dirt road where chickens scurry and Haitian women carry sacks of laundry atop their heads.



The multi-millionaire philanthropist, who was born in Haiti but raised in New York - said he had filed "every piece of paper the electoral council has asked for".



"We are winning on law," added the 40-year-old, speaking from a rattan chair in his hideaway about two hours from the presidential palace in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.



He argues that his appointment as a roving ambassador to Haiti in 2007 exempts him from the five-year residency requirement.



But even if he is barred from running in Haiti's November 28 elections, Jean says he will call for peace among his supporters.



"I will ask people to move in peace and move calmly," he said.



Haiti's electoral council was supposed to publish a list of candidates on Tuesday, but postponed the decision until tomorrow, a move some speculate was due to Jean's bid even though dozens of other candidacies must be decided on.



The wait has gripped the impoverished Caribbean country for days.



Jean, dressed casually in a blue-and-white striped shirt and blue slacks, spoke for 20 minutes with men with machine guns present, men drinking rum, and lawyers.



"I think my candidacy is a wild card for Haiti," he said.



Jean admitted that he had rankled some in Haitian politics by running and added that he had received death threats in Creole, one of the country's main languages, which have led him to go into hiding.



"We have taken measures of security," he said. "Even with security, anything is possible."



Haiti's next president will preside over the spending of billions in foreign reconstruction aid following the devastating January 12 earthquake that left a government-estimated 300,000 people dead and the capital in ruins.



He would also take over a country with a long history of political turmoil, corruption and poverty.



Jean said he wanted the Haitian people to "participate in the reconstruction" and that he would focus on the country's youth, and ask reconstruction donors to help the country's dysfunctional education system.



Nearly three dozen candidates have filed paperwork to run for president, prompting jokes about the race becoming an American Idol-style contest. Among them are US ambassador Raymond Joseph (Jean's uncle), Michel Martelly, a well-known Haitian singer known as "Sweet Mickey" who is known to perform in nappies, and Jean Bertin, the father of Miss Haiti who is competing in the Miss Universe contest next week.



Several other former prime ministers and political figures are also on the list.



The current president, Rene Preval, is not permitted to run for re-election.



Jean will almost certainly face questions regarding his participation in his former charity, Yele Haiti, which was accused of pre-quake financial improprieties that benefited the singer.



He also owed £1.3 million in back taxes in the US and during an earlier interview, pledged to publish an accounting of his finances online and to repay the money.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Steven Fletcher scores the second goal for Scotland
cricketBut they have to bounce back to beat Gibraltar in Euro 2016 qualifier
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Evans is the favourite to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing