PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – 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 the singer will be allowed to run in Nov. 28 elections.
Jean told The Associated Press that he felt the exchange with 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."
He said he was hopeful that an electoral council weighing his candidacy will rule that he can run.
"It looks like it's leaning that way," he said.
Several hours after the meeting, Jean posted a photo on his Twitter account of him shaking hands with Preval, who is not allowed to run for re-election.
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 hopefuls 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.
Haitians are watching the election closely; whoever is elected will preside over reconstruction of the earthquake battered, impoverished country.
For several days, Haitians, bloggers and international media have speculated whether Jean will be on the list. He was born in Haiti but moved to New York when he was nine. Under Haitian law, candidates for president must reside in the country for five years prior to taking office. Jean contends he meets the requirements, and has hired lawyers to defend his case.
A spokesman for the CEP, Richardson Dumel, said Thursday evening that the list of candidates "is not yet final" and added that he cannot disclose who has made the cut.
Late Thursday night, about 500 Wyclef supporters gathered at the entrance to the CEP, which is housed in what was once a Gold's Gym.
"We are here to make sure that the CEP gives out a fair result and for Wyclef to participate in the election," said protester Jean Renel.
Jean added that Preval told him he wanted to "meet with every possible presidential candidate," and called for a peaceful campaign ahead of the vote.
A call to Preval's press office was not returned.
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