Wyclef’s Eligibility for Presidency Under Review
Wyclef Jean‘s attempt to run for the Haitian presidency might be thwarted because of a gaping hole in his residency requirements.
Haiti’s electoral commission — also known as the CEP — will not make its official decision on the candidates who are allowed to run for the Haitian presidency until Friday (Aug. 20). The CEP explained that the delayed announcement will give them more time to consider which candidates are fit to run, but the delay is reportedly a direct result of Jean’s residency issues. All presidential candidates are required to have lived in Haiti for at least five consecutive years — a requirement that Wyclef does not meet. The Haitian-born singer relocated to Brooklyn, N.Y. as a child, and has lived in the U.S. ever since.
Haitian natives are forced to relinquish their local citizenship if they accept citizenship in another country. So despite his years spent in the U.S., Wyclef has never sought American citizenship, and he has promised voters that should he win the election, he would amend the country’s constitution to include dual citizenship for Haitians living abroad.
While he waits for the CEP’s official decision, the former Fugees star says he’s been fielding death threats from voters in Haiti. Jean told the Associated Press that he has received several death threats, warning him to withdraw as a potential presidential candidate and to leave the country. One of the threats included a phone call, explicitly warning Jean to “get out of Haiti.” Wyclef has reportedly gone into hiding, until his candidacy is confirmed or denied at the end of the week.