Wyclef Jean May Run for Haitian Presidency

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Richard Drew / AP

Former Fugees star Wyclef Jean, born outside Port-au-Prince in Haiti, is not ruling out a run for president in the country's Nov. 28 election, according to a statement his family gave to the media. 

"Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless," reads the statement, according to the Associated Press, "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 country's current president, René Préval, cannot seek reelection because he has already served two terms. Jean, who was born in Haiti but raised in Brooklyn, has had a high-profile role in the rebuilding of Haiti through his charity, Yéle Haiti, which raised millions in the aftermath of the country's catastrophic January earthquake.

But it has not necessarily been the kind of profile that a president-in-waiting might hope for—the Web site Smoking Gun first reported concerns, according to The Washington Post, over how the charity "has spent money in the past, with administrative expenses that appear to be higher than comparable charities and payments to businesses owned by the musician and a board member, including $100,000 for a performance by Jean at a 2006 benefit concert."

He defended Yéle Haiti and is, regardless, currently an ambassador for the Caribbean nation, the poorest in this hemisphere. The 37-year-old, more famous for representing in a hip-hop sense than a literal one, might also face difficulties running for high office, according to Sky News, "in a nation renowned for contentious elections marred by violence." Dozens of candidates are expected to declare by the Aug. 7 deadline.

Jean himself has been ambiguous about his intentions. "Do I have political intentions?" he asked rhetorically in a recent interview. "At this time, no." If his resolve crumbles and he decides to pursue the nation's highest office, he may well be dealing with a whole different kind of refugees—namely 1.5 million displaced Haitians.

 

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