Wyclef sings protest about election ban

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The Independent US

The hip-hop star Wyclef Jean has released a song to radio stations criticising officials who have banned him from standing in the presidential election in November.

The track, performed in the Haitian Creole language, translates as "Jail for the Provisional Electoral Council" and accuses the outgoing President, Rene Preval, of engineering the star's disqualification from the ballot. Jean, who has an enthusiastic youth following in his poor homeland, is challenging his rejection and has denounced the electoral authorities as corrupt and politically motivated.

"I know all the cards are in your hands ... I voted for you to be President in 2006, why today did you reject my candidacy?" Jean sings, addressing Mr Preval. "It's not Wyclef that you have expelled, it is the youth you have denied ... it's the population you have denied, it's the peasants you have denied."

Last week, electoral officials barred the former Fugees star and 14 other contenders from the ballot because the rules require candidates to have been resident for five consecutive years prior to an election. Jean, 40, lives in the US but says his role as a roving ambassador for Haiti exempts him from the residency requirement. He appealed but the electoral council said its decision was final.

Haiti is still recovering from an earthquake in January which killed an estimated 230,000 people and left one million homeless.