The interim prime minister who has ruled Haiti since the assassination of the president Jovenel Moise agreed on Monday to step aside to make way for an inclusive government that will call elections, raising wary hopes for greater stability in this violence-ravaged nation.
Acting Prime Minister Claude joseph He will resume his duties as foreign minister and hand over the country’s leadership to a new government on Tuesday whose main task will be to hold elections as soon as possible, an official said.
This government will be directed by Ariel Henry, who was appointed by Moise to replace Joseph just days before the controversial Haitian president was shot dead at his home in Port-au-Prince in the early morning of July 7. But in the hours after the assassination, Joseph declared a “state of siege” and said he was in charge, sparking a power struggle in the troubled Caribbean nation mired in poverty and violence.
Monday’s announcement seems to end the confrontation between Joseph and Henry, who were competing for the leadership of the Haitian Executive. “For several days, Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry have been holding a series of working meetings that will lead to the formation of an inclusive government with Ariel Henry as prime minister,” said the official.
The balance eventually tipped in favor of Henry, who benefited over the weekend of the support from a group of ambassadors representing the following countries: Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France, the European Union, as well as representatives of the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations.
Washington celebrated the agreement. “We are encouraged to see Haitian political and civil actors working to form a unity government that can stabilize the country and lay the foundations for free and fair elections,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.
Ariel Henry, a 71-year-old surgeon, is on his third ministerial experience. He was Minister of the Interior (January to September 2015), then Minister of Social Affairs and Labor (September 2015 to March 2016). He was also a member of the cabinet of the Ministry of Public Health (June 2006 to September 2008), before becoming head of government staff (September 2008 to October 2011).
The funeral of Moise, killed at age 53 by an armed commando, will take place on friday. Wounded in the night attack, his wife Martine Moise returned to Port-au-Prince on Saturday after being treated at a Miami hospital. With her arm in a sling, wearing a bulletproof vest over her black clothing, the widow was greeted by Joseph as she exited the plane.
Parallel to the preparation of Moise’s funeral, the investigation into his murder continues, with technical support from the US federal police agency, the FBI.