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Wyclef Wants Dual Citizenship for Haitians Living Abroad

John Lamparski, Getty Images

Wyclef Jean wants to open the voting pool to Haitians who live outside the Caribbean country. Jean, who is running for president of his home country, promised voters that should he be elected he will change the constitution to include dual citizenship for Haitians living abroad.

“The future is dual citizenship,” Jean told the Associated Press. “If they are the ones who keep this country alive, they should have some kind of say on what kind of government structure there is.”

As it stands, Haitians who emigrate to other countries must relinquish their homeland citizenship, should they become citizens of another country, and are thus unable to vote in Haiti. However many Haitian citizens maintain ties to the country often sending money to their families still living there. Jean, who moved to the U.S. as a child but never sought American citizenship, hopes to “bridge the gap” between Haitians living in the country and those living elsewhere.

The 40-year-old has become a spokesperson for the country since its devastating earthquake in January, and described his entertainment background as a strength in his presidential run. “Celebrity has taught me that politics is politricks,” he explained. “The fact that I’m coming with this with fresh eyes but not naive ears, I think that’s a good start.” Jean announced his bid for the presidency earlier this month, and has since stepped down as the head of his non-profit organization Yele-Haiti.

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