Ex-deputy: Wyclef Jean to run for Haiti president

The Associated Press Published: August 3, 2010
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Singer Wyclef Jean is about to announce his candidacy for president of earthquake-ravaged Haiti, the former head of the country's Chamber of Deputies said Tuesday.

Former Deputy Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques told The Associated Press that the hip hop artist will run as part of his coalition in the Nov. 28 election.

Jean spokeswoman Cindy Tanenbaum declined to confirm the report. She said the singer planned to make an announcement Thursday night in Haiti but declined to say what it would be.

Jean-Jacques, who will be seeking to return to the Chamber of Deputies in the election, said he will be a candidate for a new coalition that calls itself Ansanm Nou Fo, which translates as "together we are strong" in Creole.

"Yes, we have an agreement (with Jean). But he's the one who has to announce it first," Jean-Jacques told AP, declining to elaborate on their political plans.

Jean is popular in Haiti for his music and for his work through his charity Yele Haiti, which raised millions of dolars after the Jan. 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and knocked down most of the government ministries and many of the homes in the capital.

Rumors have swirled for months that Jean would run for president. The singer has always been careful not to rule out a run for the office and recorded a song "If I was President."

The 37-year-old was born outside Port-au-Prince but left as a child and grew up in Brooklyn.

Dozens of candidates are expected to compete for the presidency in the Nov. 28 election, among them Jean's uncle Raymond Joseph, who is Haiti's ambassador in Washington. Other likely candidates include former prime ministers, mayors and another popular Haitian musician, Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly.

All must register their candidancies with the country's electoral council by Saturday. The electoral council's director of registration, Jean-Marie Lumier, said Tuesday he had not received papers for Jean's bid.