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Wyclef to run for Haiti president

Singer Wyclef Jean is to run for president of earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Jean's spokeswoman Cindy Tanenbaum said the hip-hop artist and former Fugees star planned an announcement that he was preparing a political communications team.

His brother Samuel said the singer would announce his intentions in a televised interview from Haiti after filing the required documents with the electoral council. "We all believe he meets the constitutional requirements and he can do it," Samuel Jean said from his consulting office in Los Angeles.

Pierre Eric Jean-Jacques, the ex-head of the country's Chamber of Deputies, said that Jean would run as part of his coalition in the November 28 election.

Mr Jean-Jacques, who will be seeking to return to the Chamber of Deputies in the election, said he would be a candidate for a new coalition that calls itself Ansanm Nou Fo, which translates as "together we are strong" in Creole.

Jean, who was born outside Port-au-Prince but left as a child and grew up in Brooklyn, New York City, is popular in Haiti for his music and for his work through his charity Yele Haiti, which raised millions after the January 12 earthquake that killed an estimated 300,000 people and knocked down most of the government ministries and many of the homes in the capital.

Rumours have circulated for months that Jean, 37, would run for president. The singer has always been careful not to rule out a run for the office and recorded a song, If I Was President.

Dozens of candidates are expected to compete for the presidency in the November election, among them Jean's uncle Raymond Joseph, who is Haiti's ambassador in Washington. All must register their candidacies with the country's electoral council by Saturday.

Questions surround Jean's qualifications for office. He must prove he has lived in Haiti for five consecutive years, owned property in the country and had no other citizenship but Haitian.

In 2007, the singer was named an official Haitian ambassador-at-large by President Rene Preval, whom Jean supported in his 2006 re-election bid. Mr Preval has served two non-consecutive terms and is barred by the constitution from seeking office again.

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