Top-five musicians in politics

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Haitan born superstar Wyclef Jean last week announced plans to run for president in his home country’s elections this coming November. Unless Lauren Hill was particularly difficult to deal with, we imagine the former Fugee will have a difficult task if he is elected, as the country is still recovering from the earthquake that left 220,000 people dead. Though we admire his endeavour, it’s not only Wyclef that has turned his attention to politics, here are five other musicians with ambition…

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1. Gilberto Gil
One of Brazil’s best-loved singer-songwriters, Gil started out as a Bossa Nova musician, reaching his creative peak in the 60s when he was part of the Tropicalia movement. The singer was appointed Brazil’s new Minister of Culture in 2003, a position he held until July 2008.

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2. Peter Garret
One of the most famous musicians to penetrate the murky world of politics, the Australian was the lead singer of rock band Midnight Oil before starting his political career in 1984. However, it was only back in June 2004 that Garret became an MP for the Australian Labour party. These days Garret can be found lurking around the halls of power full time; as he is the Minister for environmental protection, heritage and the arts.

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3. Cicciolina (Ilona Staller)
Porn star, singer and politician Cicciolina was elected to the Italian Parliament in 1987, and by 1991 (the same year she married artist Jeff Koons) she co-founded the Love Party, which cited ‘Love For All’ as its number one policy. When Saddam Hussein refused to allow inspections for weapons of mass destruction in 2002, she attempted to solve the problem by offering to have sex with him.

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4. Andry Rajoelina
Rajoelina started out as a DJ in his home country, Madagascar, before establishing his own radio station. Despite the fact that he was not actually ‘elected’ (he dissolved Madagascar’s parliament last year and is the current head of state), the young president is the only one in the list to be the out and out leader of a country.

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5. David Rowntree
Former Blur drummer Rowntree became a member of the Labour party back in 2002. He attempted to run as the Labour candidate for the Cities of London and Westminster constituency in this year’s election, but lost out to Conservative candidate Mark Field.

Words by Fernando Augusto Pacheco