Wyclef to confirm presidential bid


Haitian-American music star Wyclef Jean will announce his bid for president of earthquake-ravaged Haiti this week, Time magazine reported late yesterday.

Haiti, which was hit by a deadly 7.0-magnitude earthquake in January, is scheduled to vote on November 28th to elect a new leader to replace president Rene Preval, whose term ends in February.

"If I can't take five years out to serve my country as president, then everything I've been singing about, like equal rights, doesn't mean anything," Mr Jean said in an interview with Time.

There has been widespread speculation that the musician would seek the office. Last week in Haiti he said he was taking the necessary legal steps toward running for president, including having his fingerprints taken by the judicial police. However, he said last Thursday in Port-au-Prince that he had not made a definite decision.

Many analysts predict Jean - who at 37 is very popular among Haitians, particularly the young - would easily win the presidential election.

A three-time Grammy award-winner, Jean was a founding member of the hip-hop trio The Fugees and won wider fame for his collaboration with Colombian pop star Shakira. He released a song two years ago called If I Was President.

Jean established the Yele Haiti Foundation in 2005 to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Haiti. He said after the January 12th earthquake which killed up to 300,000 people that Haiti's future rested on education, job creation and investment.

"If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," Jean told Time. "The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century."

Jean emigrated to the United States aged nine, but has maintained his Haitian citizenship, a requirement for running for the presidency.