National Post (National Edition)

Haiti's interim PM set to step down

Joseph to stand down, make room for Henry


PORT-AU-PRINCE • Claude Joseph, who has nominally led Haiti as acting prime minister since the July 7 assassinat­ion of President Jovenel Moise, will hand power to a challenger backed by the internatio­nal community possibly as soon as Tuesday, a Haitian official said.

The announceme­nt appears to end a power struggle in the Caribbean nation between Joseph and Ariel Henry, the 71-year old neurosurge­on who was appointed prime minister by Moise two days before the killing but had yet to be sworn in.

Haiti foreign ministry senior official Israel Jacky Cantave said that Joseph took charge following Moise's assassinat­ion to help ensure continuity of state but would hand over power to Henry now that there is a consensus on the future of the country and protests have calmed.

Cantave said that Haiti's Council of Ministers would meet on Monday and that if all goes well, Joseph could hand over power to Henry in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Reuters was unable to immediatel­y reach Joseph by phone for comment.

Moise was shot dead when attackers armed with assault rifles stormed his private residence in the hills above Port-au-Prince. The assassinat­ion has pitched the poorest country in the Americas into political uncertaint­y at a time of surging gang violence that has displaced thousands and hampered economic activity.

Joseph told the Washington Post in an interview published Monday that he and Henry had met privately over the past week, and that he had agreed on Sunday to step down “for the good of the nation” and was willing to transfer power “as quickly as possible.”

Haiti, a country of about 11 million people, has struggled to achieve stability since the fall of the Duvalier dynastic dictatorsh­ip in 1986, and has grappled with a series of coups and foreign interventi­ons.

On Saturday, the `Core Group' of internatio­nal ambassador­s and representa­tives urged “the formation of a consensual and inclusive government.”

The Core Group is made up of ambassador­s from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, U.S., France, and the European Union and special representa­tives from the United Nations and the Organizati­on of American States.

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Claude Joseph

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