Haiti’s New Prime Minister Takes Helm Amid Murder Chaos, Political Crisis

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Haiti swore in a new prime minister on Tuesday, as the troubled Caribbean country tries to emerge from the political chaos created by the murder of President Jovenel Moise two weeks ago.

Ariel Henry, a 71-year-old neurosurgeon and public health expert, took the reins of the nation of 11 million, as interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph stepped aside and resumed his role as foreign affairs minister.

During the ceremony in Port-au-Prince, Henry said he would continue to pursue the authors of Moise’s murder. He also asked Haitians to have patience as he organizes elections later this year.

“We should never go through another tragedy like this,” Henry said, according to local media.

Henry’s elevation comes after a power struggle with Joseph to decide the political fate of the country. He’d been tapped by Moise to be prime minister but hadn’t stepped into the role when the president was assassinated in his home on July 7. Without a functioning legislature since 2020, and with the Supreme Court in disarray, Joseph claimed that he was the nation’s legitimate leader.

On Saturday, the “Core Group” of nations — an influential bloc including ambassadors representing the U.S., the European Union and the United Nations — urged Henry to form a new government and lead the country through general elections, currently scheduled for Sept. 26. Shortly after, Joseph announced he would step down.

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    Haiti is a Caribbean country that shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east. Though it’s still recovering from a 2010 earthquake, many of Haiti’s landmarks dating to the early 19th century remain intact. These include Citadelle la Ferrière, a mountaintop fortress.

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