Singer Wyclef Jean meets with Haiti's president

Haiti's President Rene Preval speaks during a press conference at the National Palace in Port-au-Prince, Wednesday, June 30, 2010. Preval set Nov. 28 as the date voters will choose his successor as leader of the earthquake-shattered Caribbean nation. (AP Photo/Alexandre Meneghini)

August 19, 2010 7:06:03 PM PDT
Haitian President Rene Preval met with presidential hopeful Wyclef Jean for more than two hours on Thursday, touching off a new round of speculation as to whether or not the singer would be included in a list of presidential candidates.

Jean told the Associated Press that he felt the exchange with Rene Preval was positive.

"I feel good," the hip hop artist and former Fugees frontman said. "I feel that the president that I voted for five years ago is the same person that was sitting in front of me today."

Earlier in the week, Jean said he had received death threats. Jean said Preval expressed concern and offered him security.

The singer - and several dozen other presidential candidates - are scheduled to find out Friday if the country's electoral council allows them to run for office.

The council, which is known as the CEP, was supposed to release the presidential candidate list on Tuesday, but postponed the decision.

For several days, Haitians, bloggers and international media have speculated whether Jean will be on the list. Under Haitian law, candidates for president must reside in the country for five years prior to taking office.

Jean - who was born in Haiti but moved to New York when he was nine - contends he meets the requirements, and has hired lawyers to defend his case.

After meeting with Preval, Jean was confident that he will be allowed to campaign.

"It looks like it's leaning that way," Jean said.

A spokesman for the CEP, Richardson Dumel, said Thursday evening that "the list is not yet final" and added that he cannot disclose who has made the cut.

Jean added that Preval told him that he wanted to "meet with every possible presidential candidate," and called for a peaceful campaign leading up to the Nov. 28 election.

A call to Preval's press office was not returned.

Despite being raised in New York, Jean never became an American citizen.


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