Wyclef Jean mulling a run for Haiti presidency

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The Independent US

Singer Wyclef Jean is considering running for president of Haiti but has not decided whether to seek a five-year term as leader of the earthquake-ravaged nation.

There have been rumours for some time that the Haitian entertainer might enter the 2010 presidential contest, ever since his 2007 appointment as ambassador-at-large for the Caribbean nation by President Rene Preval, who cannot seek re-election.

A family statement emailed to reporters said: "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... If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately."

The 37-year-old was born on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince but left the hemisphere's poorest country as a child and grew up in New York City's borough of Brooklyn. In a recent interview, the singer said he intended to be involved in the 28 November poll, but not necessarily as a candidate. "Do I have political intentions? At this time no. But what I do have is a movement – it's called 'Face to Face'," he said. "The youth population... we are going to encourage them to vote."

Jean, who said he voted for Mr Preval in 2006, would not have an easy road as a candidate. Haitian elections are contentious and often violent. Dozens of candidates are expected to declare themselves by next week's deadline. To enter the race, the singer would have to prove he has resided in Haiti for five consecutive years, owned property in the country and have never been a citizen of any country other than Haiti.

Whoever wins will face the gargantuan task of rebuilding a country devastated by the January earthquake.