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UN calls for calm after Wyclef Jean rejected as Haiti presidential candidate

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« on: August 22, 2010, 04:57:05 am »

UN calls for calm after Wyclef Jean rejected as Haiti presidential candidate

    * By Clarens Renois
    * From: AFP
    * August 22, 2010 3:34AM

UN peacekeepers in Haiti called for calm Saturday after electoral officials rejected international hip-hop star Wyclef Jean's presidential candidacy.

Jean, who has a strong following among Haiti's youth, was the best known of the 15 candidates disqualified from running.

The United Nations Stabilisation Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) called "on political parties and candidates participating in presidential elections to respect the laws prescribed in the Elections Act".

Haiti's November 28 election is still uncertain in the aftermath of a powerful January 12 earthquake that killed at least 250,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless.

The peacekeepers also asked the parties to urge their members to behave with "the greatest serenity and respect for voters" during the electoral process.

Jean issued a statement late on Friday reaffirming his commitment to the rule of law after council spokesman Richard Dumel announced that his candidacy was rejected.

The council did not formally explain its decision, but there have been concerns Jean might not meet residency requirements. Jean also faces questions about US back taxes.

"Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee's final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same," Jean said.

Jean said he had been inspired to run for president because he believed Haiti become a great country with the right leadership.

"But, ultimately, we must respect the rule of law in order for our island to become the great nation we all aspire for it to be," he said.

However in a phone interview broadcast on CNN on Saturday, Jean said that he was surprised by the ruling.

"This has come to our party and to our group as a total shock," he said.

"There's no specific reason" for the rejection, he said, adding that his lawyers "went over all the paperwork, and everything, worked every piece of document".

Fears of angry reaction from Jean's young supporters in Haiti appeared overblown, as the streets of the country's capital were calm Saturday.

Some Haitian politicians were quick to criticise the music star's last-minute bid to enter the race.

Jean "was a threat to the candidate endorsed by the party in power, but more broadly, a threat to the entire political class because his candidacy had attracted a lot of attention," former legislator Emmanuel Wesner said.

Jean was among 34 presidential candidates whose bids were challenged. In the end, electoral officials rejected bids from all of the Haitians living abroad who wanted to run for president, including Raymond Joseph, Haiti's ambassador to the US who is also Wyclef Jean's uncle.

The Grammy Award-winning musician lives in the New York area but spent his first nine years in Haiti. He traveled back to his homeland multiple times before the catastrophic January 12 earthquake, in a bid to help defuse violence in gang-infested slums and help the most disadvantaged Haitians.

In an open letter made public before the ruling, Jean said that whatever his own political fate, the world needed to do more to help Haiti, whose already serious woes were multiplied by the catastrophic earthquake.

But critics say that Jean's track record at helping Haiti has been spotty at best.

US actor Sean Penn, who runs a 55,000-person tent camp for the homeless in Haiti, and others have accused Jean of misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars he raised after the earthquake for a charity he ran.

In a report on Tuesday, The New York Times highlighted a history of poor financial management at Jean's Yele Haiti charity, including a 250,000-dollar payment made to a television station that the singer and a cousin had recently acquired.

Jean acknowledged "missteps" at the charity before the earthquake but rejected claims of misappropriated funds.

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« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2010, 06:01:41 am »

dang foreigners wanting to be president.
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