Crime & Justice

A new prime minister for Haiti, 13 days after Moïse assassination

By Maria Montecelos

Port-au-Prince, Jul 19 (EFE).- Ariel Henry will become Haiti’s new prime minister on Tuesday, ending a power struggle 13 days after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Claude Joseph, who has led the country as acting prime minister since the murder, will hand over the reins to Henry, who had been designated to the position two days before Moïse’s death, but had not been sworn in.

This appointment will end the power struggle among Joseph, Henry and Senate president Joseph Lambert.

Joseph had initially received the recognition of the United States and the Organization of American States (OAS) as the head of state, but on Saturday the international community encouraged Henry to form a government and call elections, thus granting him support.

In a statement, the Core Group, made up of the ambassadors of the US, France, Spain, Brazil, Germany, Canada and the European Union, as well as representatives of the United Nations and the OAS, tipped the balance in favor of the man chosen by Moïse to succeed him.

The transfer of power, confirmed to Efe by Elections Minister Mathias Pierre, will take place officially on Tuesday.

It is anticipated that Joseph will return to his foreign minister post.

With the death of Moïse, questions arose about who should legitimately serve as head of state, since it is parliament that must elect an interim president, as provided by the constitution.

However, Haiti has not had an operational parliament since January 2020 as a result of its dissolution after the postponement of the legislative elections that should have been held in 2019, but which were suspended due to the recurring security crisis in the country.

Henry, a 71-year-old neurosurgeon and moderate, has served as a minister since 2011.

In addition, he was a member of the Council of Wise Men created after the ouster of president Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004 with the mission of appointing a prime minister to lead the country.

As prime minister, Henry will face the challenge of agreeing on positions that are difficult to reconcile in a country that was already suffering a major political, economic and security crisis before the murder of Moïse at his home at dawn on July 7.

The house has been under guard since then, and in the vicinity an altar has been erected with the image of the president on the colors of the Haitian flag, under which bouquets of flowers and candles have been placed, while, a few meters away, a new mural with his face decorates a wall as a tribute. EFE


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