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While Wyclef Jean's bid to run for President of Haiti divided many, it seems the hip-hop star's time in that particular political arena has already come to an end.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Jean, 39, "is not on the list of approved candidates who satisfy legal requirements to run in Haiti's Nov. 28 presidential election," an electoral official said Thursday. "He is not on the list as I speak," a member of Haiti's provisional electoral council (who chose to remain anonymous) confirmed.
It turns out Jean did not fully meet the requirements of a candidate, which includes current residency in the country. While the musician was born in Haiti, he moved with his family to Brooklyn, N.Y., when he was 9 and currently resides in New Jersey.
Jean decided to run for the country's top political office in response to the devastating earthquake which ravaged much of the country in January. "If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," he had previously stated.
When he first announced he was putting himself in the running, many in the struggling country found the prospect of Jean as their president a positive thing. "A lot of Haitians are excited about this. Given the awful situation in Haiti right now, most people don't care if the President speaks fluent Creole," Marvel Dandin, a popular Port-au-Prince radio broadcaster, told Time magazine.
But, like any political candidate, Jean's motives (especially after the controversy with his Yele Haiti charity) were also met with skepticism, particularly by those in Hollywood. "I have to say I'm very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent," actor/activist Sean Penn told CNN. "For those of us in Haiti, he has been a non-presence."
Even Jean's former Fugees bandmate, Pras, could not support him in the decision. "The reality is this, we need a real leader," the fellow Haitian-American said. "Not just a regular leader, but a transformative leader. Someone that’s gonna be able to galvanize the Haitians down on the field, the Haitian-Americans, the international community. It’s a collective support -- to take this country to the 21st century. And I’m just not convinced Wyclef is the one for that.”
Jean, who had met with met President Rene Preval in the country's capital on Thursday, was one of 34 presidential hopefuls. He has not yet released a statement regarding his exclusion from the list of candidates.
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