Wyclef Jean appeals election disqualification

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Wyclef Jean filed an appeal on Monday in an attempt to get on a list of candidates contesting the November 28 presidential election in Haiti.

Although initially saying that he would “respectfully accept” the ruling of the Provisional Electoral Commission (CEP) to disqualify him last Friday even though he did not agree with it, Jean has changed his mind.

The 40-year-old artiste has told media organizations and posted on Twitter that his lawyers would file an appeal with the national electoral dispute office.

“Our lawyers are appealing the decision of the CEP. We have met all the requirements set by the laws. And the law must be respected,” he wrote in a statement.

Jean was one of 15 people rejected when the electoral council published a list of 19 validated candidates. No reasons were given for the candidates who were disqualified. However, Jean has not fulfilled the nation’s residency law which requires that candidates must live in Haiti five years prior to an election.

Jean, who left Haiti for the U.S. when he was a child, is insisting that he should be exempt from the residency requirement since he was elected ambassador at large in 2007.

Jean said that he and his aides “feel that what is going on here has everything to do with Haitian politics”.

“They are trying to keep us out of the race,” said Jean, referring to Haiti’s political establishment.

According to the Associated Press, Jean is upset that the electoral commission rejected his candidacy before the matter of his residency had been resolved.

Jean said that after he filed papers to run in the election, two Haitians challenged his candidacy on the grounds that he did not meet residency requirements. According to Jean, the national electoral dispute office ruled in his favour. However, the two Haitians appealed the decision and the case was still pending when CEP made its announcement.

As of press time, no decision has been made on Jean’s appeal.

Meanwhile, the joint Organization of American States (OAS)/Caribbean Community (CARICOM) observer mission in Haiti has expressed concern that the process of the validation of candidates was not as transparent as it could have been.

“Regarding the 15 candidacies that were deemed ineligible, explications about the reasons for invalidating them would have contributed to the transparency of the process,” it said in a statement issued last weekend.

The mission also urged all stakeholders involved to continue their efforts toward the realization of credible, transparent and participative elections.

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