Haitian PM who took power after president’s assassination agrees to step down

Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who led the country after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, will resign and a new government will be formed with Ariel Henry as prime minister, an official said Monday.

The new government will have no president and will be tasked with organizing new elections “as soon as possible,” said the government official, who is close to the prime minister’s office.

Moise had urged Henry to replace Joseph as prime minister in the days before the president was shot dead at his home in Port-au-Prince in the early hours of July 7.

But in the hours after the murder, Joseph declared a “martial law” and said he was in charge, launching a power struggle in the violence-ravaged, impoverished Caribbean country.

Haiti also had no working parliament and no workable succession process, and was already deep in a political and security crisis when Moise was assassinated.

“For several days, Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry have been holding a number of working meetings that will lead to the formation of an inclusive government with Ariel Henry as prime minister,” the official said.

Joseph will return to his former position as Secretary of State in the new government, which will be installed on Tuesday, the official said.

“There will be no president of the republic. The mission of this new government will be to organize general elections as soon as possible,” the official added.

Moise had ruled Haiti, America’s poorest country, by decree after parliamentary elections scheduled for 2018 were postponed over disputes, including over when his own term ended.

In addition to presidential, parliamentary and local elections, Haiti should have held a constitutional referendum in September after being postponed twice due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The official did not provide a timeline on Monday for when new elections would be held.


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