Wyclef Jean abandons Haiti presidential run


PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Hip-hop star Wyclef Jean said on Tuesday he was abandoning his attempt to run in Haiti's November presidential election, one month after his candidacy was formally rejected by Haitian authorities.

"After weeks of quiet but painstaking reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti," the singer-songwriter said in a statement.

"This was not an easy conclusion to reach; but it is one that was thoughtfully made," Jean added.

The Haitian-born Jean, who has lived most of his life in the United States, said he would now focus on his music. He said he planned to release a new album next year titled "If I were President, the Haitian Experience."

Haiti's electoral council ruled last month that Jean failed to meet a requirement that presidential candidates maintain five consecutive years of residency in the country before running.

Days after the electoral court's decision, Jean released a song on Haiti's radio airwaves accusing outgoing President Rene Preval of engineering his rejection as a candidate.

Jean had said he would appeal the decision, but officials said the electoral body's ruling was definitive under Haitian law.

Popular among Haiti's youth, Jean faced questions whether a celebrity with no political experience was the best person to govern the country, which is struggling to recover from a January earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people.

"Though my run for the presidency was cut short, I feel it was not in vain," Jean said.

Jean left Haiti with his family to live in New York at age 9 and launched his music career in the United States.
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