Wyclef Jean's Appeal Is Denied, Leaving His Presidential Bid as Dead as the Fugees
On Wyclef Jean's personal list of "Things That Will Never, Ever Happen" -- including playing a Fugees reunion show with Pras and winning a good taxpayer award from the IRS -- the singer can now add a new entry with some confidence: serving as president of Haiti.
The Haitian electoral council ruled last night that Wyclef cannot appeal its decision that he's ineligible to run for president. Jean promised this morning to take his fight to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, but let's get real. For better or worse, this thing looks dead.
Jean stirred waves of support and rounds of hackles across Little Haiti last month when he officially announced he would run in the next presidential election.
Outside the Libreri Mapou Bookstore and on street corners around NE Second Avenue in Miami's Little Haiti, Haitian-Americans debated his credentials.
It looked something like this. Pros: Wyclef is adored among young Haitians for his music, advocacy, and success, and he might be rich enough to nix the endemic corruption that comes with the job. Cons: He mismanaged his nonprofit Yele, lost a Miami Beach mansion to foreclosure, and owes the IRS millions in back taxes.
Haiti's electoral council silenced all of those arguments, though, when it ruled last week that Jean didn't meet eligibility requirements because he left the island when he was 9 years old.
Last night, the same council tossed out Jean's appeal.
"When it comes to electoral matters, the electoral council is the supreme court, meaning there is nowhere else to go," Samuel Pierre, a council member, tells the Guardian. "There is absolutely no possibility for Wyclef Jean to be added to the list of candidates approved to run in the next presidential elections. So it's over."
Jean says he'll continue to fight. "Wyclef does not intend to stop here. We will exhaust all options; we will go all the way to fight this unacceptable decision," Jean Renel Senatus, one of Wyclef's lawyers, tells the Guardian.
Good luck, Wyclef. In the meantime, the real fight -- the bitch fest between Wyclef and Sean Penn -- will rage on the Internet, not really helping Haiti but surely entertaining the rest of us.