Port-au-Prince, Jul 19 (EFE).- Haitian interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph will step down and cede power to the man who had been appointed to that position shortly before President Jovenel Moise’s assassination, the country’s election affairs minister, Mathias Pierre, confirmed to Efe on Monday.
Ariel Henry – a 71-year-old neurosurgeon who is regarded as a conciliatory moderate – had been named prime minister two days prior to Moise’s death in a July 7 attack on his home in Port-au-Prince and has the backing of the United Nations and a group of influential ambassadors, including the United States’ envoy.
Moise’s intention was for Henry – Haiti’s minister of interior and territorial communities since 2016 – to form an ideologically diverse Cabinet with a view to calming the country’s growing political tensions and pave the way for a general election scheduled for Sept. 26.
However, because he had not yet been sworn in at the time Moise was killed, Joseph had stepped in to fill the leadership vacuum.
The transfer of power will take place on Tuesday, while Joseph, who also serves as the country’s foreign affairs minister, is expected to retain that post in Henry’s administration, the outgoing prime minister told the daily Le Nouvelliste.
On Saturday, the so-called Core Group comprising the envoy of the UN’s secretary-general, the ambassadors of the US, Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, Germany and Spain and the special representative of the Organization of American States, expressly supported Henry as prime minister.
In a statement, that group called for the formation of “a consensual and inclusive government” and said it “strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government.”
Moise’s death led to a succession problem.
Since it occurred toward the end of his time in office, the constitution calls for Parliament to select an interim head of state to serve out the rest of his term. But with the legislature inoperative since January 2020 due to the postponement of the 2019 legislative elections, that has not been possible.
Joseph, who has served as interim prime minister since April, had been the impoverished Caribbean nation’s de facto leader in the wake of Moise’s assassination.
His resignation will precede a state funeral for Moise on Friday in the northern city of Cap-Haitien, Haiti’s second-largest. EFE