Friday, July 23, 2021

Haiti Gets New Prime Minister

Ariel Henry was officially sworn in as the new Prime Minister of Haiti, following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, nearly two weeks.

Henry’s official appointment comes as a power struggle intensified in the Caribbean nation and its government hastened to front strong leadership after Moise was killed.

Ariel Henry at his swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday. Claude Joseph is seen in the top left photo.

Though an interim Prime Minister, Henry replaces Claude Joseph, who became the face of the Haitian government after Moise’s death.

Henry is backed by the Core Group which is comprised of ambassadors from Canada, the United States, Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, France, the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The 71-year-old neurosurgeon and former cabinet minister stated at his swearing-in ceremony, “One of my priority tasks will be to reassure the people that we will do everything to restore order and security,” according to AFP news agency.

Why it matters

Joseph, the country’s foreign affairs minister, held the post of interim prime minister while Jovenel served as President.

One day before Jovenel died, he appointed Henry to the position to replace Joseph. But Henry was never sworn in.

After the assassination, Joseph asserted himself as leader causing a power vacuum.

However, on Sunday, Joseph said he would step down “for the good of the nation.”

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power grab,” Joseph said.

“The president was a friend to me. I am just interested in seeing justice for him.”

The big picture

Moise was killed by assassins at his home in the early morning hours. His wife was injured during the attack, received medical care in the United States and this week returned to the troubled island nation.

Nearly 28 foreign mercenaries were arrested after the attack, including two US citizens of Haitian descent and 26 Columbians which included ex-military men.

State of play

Moise’s funeral is scheduled for Friday.

Haiti’s election is expected in September.

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