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Wyclef Jean may run for president of Haiti

Ruling Haiti was sort of a thankless job even before the nation was devastated by a massive earthquake, but Wyclef Jean is apparently considering a run for president anyway. The singer’s family recently released a statement addressing rumors that Jean would enter the 2010 election, saying, “Wyclef's commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward … If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately”—which sounds like the exact sort of coy dismissal that precedes an official announcement. In the meantime, Jean has downplayed such talk as "premature" while also quietly gathering all the necessary paperwork, which suggests something is definitely afoot. He has until Aug. 7 to officially declare his candidacy.

Since 2007, Jean has served as Haiti’s ambassador-at-large as well as one of its most active fundraising voices—and most controversial, as seen in the fallout over the discovery that his Yele Haiti Foundation was funneling funds back into Jean’s own pocket. (The company has since hired a new accounting firm.) If he runs, not only would he be saddled with the task of rebuilding the country, he would first have to survive the campaign: Haitian elections are often marked by violence, and that dissension doesn’t end once the votes are in. As the New York Times notes, “Presidents have only rarely completed a constitutional five-year term—more typically being overthrown, getting assassinated, declaring themselves ‘president-for-life’ or some combination of the three.” Feels like we’ve heard a song about this somewhere before….

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