International

Declared Ineligible To Run For President Of Haiti, Wyclef Jean Plans To Appeal

Haitian electoral ouncil spokesman Richa

Spokesman Richard Dumel announces the presidential candidates for the country's upcoming elections. Singer Wyclef Jean was declared ineligible to run. Thony Belizaire/AFP hide caption

itoggle caption Thony Belizaire/AFP

On Friday evening, Haiti's electoral commission, the CEP, said it had determined singer Wyclef Jean was ineligible to run for president there.

"No explanation was given," The New York Times reported. "A spokesman for the council, Richardson Dumel, facing reporters who had been standing vigil at the election bureau all day, read a list of 19 presidential aspirants deemed eligible and 15, including Mr. Jean, whose candidacy had been rejected.

On his Twitter page last night, Jean said he planned to protest the commission's decision: "Tomorrow our Lawyers are appealing the decision of the CEP. We have met all the requirements set by the laws. And the law must be Respected."

As we reported several weeks ago, it seemed unlikely Jean could satisfy two constitutional requirements: In Haiti, candidates for president must "be the owner in Haiti of at least one real property and have his habitual residence in the country" and "have resided in the country for five (5) consecutive years before the date of the elections."

On Friday, just after the CEP made its announcement, Jean indicated he planned to move on, to accept the board's decision:

"Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee's final decision, and I urge my supporters do the same," he said. "We must all honor the memories of those we've lost — whether in the earthquake, or at anytime — by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment."

According to The New York Times, Dumel "said Sunday that there was no legal mechanism for contesting an election eligibility decision." At this point, it is unclear what will happen next.

Regardless, the continued back and forth reflects a deeper Haitian rift. Historians point out that the country’s political class has never fully made its peace with what Mr. Jean represents: the successful Haitian diaspora — financially helpful and mostly out of town.

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