Wyclef Jean Officially Abandons Haitian Presidential Bid

Singer will focus on the February release of his next album.

[artist id="1162"]Wyclef Jean[/artist] announced on Tuesday (September 21) that he is planning to abandon his bid for the presidency of Haiti and focus on his musical career. The announcement came after Jean had vowed to fight on and appeal a ruling by Haiti's Provincial Electoral Council that denied him a spot in the island nation's upcoming presidential election.

"After weeks of quiet but painstaking reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti," Jean said in a statement. "This was not an easy conclusion to reach; but it is one that was thoughtfully made, taking into account many, many competing factors and weighing the course that will best advance the healing of the country and help it find the quickest path to recovery."

Jean was left off the list of viable candidates for the Haitian presidency that the Council released on August 20 because he did not meet the residency requirements. At the time, the former Fugees star promised he would launch a vigorous appeal in his effort to take over the top job in his native homeland, which has struggled to recover from January's devastating earthquake.

'Clef was one of 15 of 34 presidential candidates whose bids were rejected. He initially said he accepted the disqualification in an effort to respect the rule of law in the country, and to ensure that there would be no violence in the wake of the announcement. But his representatives also filed a legal appeal against the Council's ruling, citing what they described as "irregularities" in its operations.

Jean said he will return his focus to his music career and prepare for the February 2011 release of a solo album, the title of which is now If I Were President, the Haitian Experience. The singer has already lamented his failed bid in the song "Prizon for the CEP," in which he attacked the Council and the country's sitting president.

"Some battles are best fought off the field, and that is where we take this now," Jean said in the statement, noting that his appeal was an attempt to shed light on the democratic process and "the functioning of a government that is often ranked as one of the most corrupt on the planet, resulting in a country that is by most measures the poorest in the Western world."

Wyclef stressed that the appeal was not just about his own candidacy — which was questioned by his former Fugees bandmate Pras and actor Sean Penn, who has been living on the island since February while running his own relief organization — but about pointing out the shortcomings of the electoral process to all Haitians.

"Though my run for the presidency was cut short," he said, "in this way, I feel it was not in vain; it's something we can use to improve conditions for my Haitian brothers and sisters."