15:22 06 August 2010
Fromer Fugees singer Wyclef Jean has formally registered to stand for president of his native Haiti.
The nation is currently recovering from a massive earthquake in January which claimed the lives of 300,000 and left 1.5m people homeless.
Jean arrived with his wife and daughter at an electoral council office in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and was met with cheers from numerous supporters.
The deadline to file candidacy papers for the 28 November poll is Saturday.
A review board will verify that his candidacy meets constitutional requirements, which include having lived there for five consecutive years leading up to the election and never having held foreign citizenship.
The singer, who grew up in the US after spending his early childhood years in Haiti, holds a Haitian passport and has US residency. He claims that his appointment as a roving ambassador for the country in 2007 exempts him from the residency requirement.
"I would like to tell [US] President Barack Obama that the United States has Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean," he told a rally of supporters in Port-au-Prince.
However, his efforts for the nation have already met with controversy after the Yele Haiti charitable foundation for Haitian children which he set up came under scrutiny over its finances.
The sitting President, Rene Preval, is barred by the constitution from seeking a new term.
Should Jean win, the hip hop star will preside over the spending of billions of dollars in reconstruction aid.
Jean admitted: "If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this."
However Jean's move into politics has been met with skeptism by Oscar winning actor Sean Penn who has lived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, for over four months since disaster. His continuing efforts helped to manage 50,000 displaced Haitians living in a camp, setting up the J/P Haitian Relief Organization (J/P HRO).
Of the misuse of funds scandal surrounding Jean's role in the Yele Haiti charitable foundation, the 'Mystic River' star said: "That has to be looked into. I've been there. I know what 400,000 dollars could do for these people's lives and for a 24-year-old girl right now who is dying.
"So, I want to see someone who is really, really willing to sacrifice for their country and not just someone who I personally saw with a vulgar entourage of vehicles that demonstrated a wealth in Haiti that -- in context, I felt a very obscene demonstration."
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