Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Wyclef Jean Eligible to Run for President of Haiti?

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Is Wyclef Jean Eligible to Run for President of Haiti?

Article excerpt

Wyclef Jean is rumored to be running for president of Haiti. The Haiti Constitution gives six clear requirements for becoming president, however, and Wyclef may not meet them all.

Wyclef Jean has casually hinted that he may run for president of Haiti before, but he heightened speculation on the matter on Tuesday when he said he is mulling whether to formally announce his candidacy for the Nov. 28 vote.

"At this time, Wyclef Jean has not announced his intent to run for Haitian president," the Jean Family said in a statement today. "If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately."

But beyond "will he?" is the question of "can he?"

Dr. Wyclef (in May he received an honorary doctorate from Western Connecticut State University) has already qualified to be a diplomat for the Haitian government. The Grammy Award-winning musician, whose full name is Nel Ust Wycliffe Jean, was appointed ambassador-at- large in 2007.

But the Haitian Constitution gives six specific requirements for president, and it remains unclear if Wyclef meets them all.

Constitutional requirements

Article 135 of the Constitution states that the president must be at least 35 years old; a native-born Haitian and have never renounced Haitian nationality; the owner in Haiti of at least one real property and have his habitual residence in the country; have been relieved of this responsibilities if he has been handling public funds; have resided in the country for five consecutive years before the election; and have never been sentenced to death, personal restraint, or penal servitude or lost of civil rights for a crime.

Wyclef appears to meet at least five of the six requirements, according to the Haitian Ambassador to the United States, who also happens to be Wyclef's uncle.

Wyclef meets most requirements

Born on Oct. 17, 1972, Wyclef will be 38 on election day this November.

Although he moved to the United States as a child and grew up in Brooklyn and Newark, Wyclef has always retained his Haitian citizenship, says Ambassador Raymond Joseph.

"He is not a US citizen and has never been," Ambassador Joseph told the Monitor in a telephone interview Tuesday. …

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