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Published: Tuesday, 8/24/2010

Not presidential

THE decision by Haiti's electoral commission that entertainer Wyclef Jean is not eligible to run for president in November is in the best interests of that ravaged country.

Haiti needs inspirational leadership, in light of its history of dismal governance and its efforts to recover from the devastating earthquake in January. It's doubtful that the Haitian-born rapper, if he were elected, would have been able to provide such leadership for its 10 million people.

The electoral commission declared Mr. Jean ineligible to run because he left Haiti with his parents when he was 9 and today lives primarily in New Jersey. He claimed that the residency requirement was a technicality, superseded by his status as an overseas representative of Haiti.

Still, it is reasonable to expect a presidential candidate to have years of direct experience in the country he hopes to govern. A more practical, political problem for him involved allegations that his foundation mishandled money collected this year for Haitian earthquake relief.

The ruling against Mr. Jean, which he said this week that he will appeal, will allow Haitians to focus on more-substantial candidates. The situation in the country is dire, and it needs an effective president to put Haiti back together.



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