Haiti has elected a new president 2 weeks after the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. The election was held on September 18th, with Jean-Charles Boisrond-Tonnerre winning in the second round of voting.
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PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITIAN REPUBLIC— Ariel Henry, a renowned neurosurgeon supported by the United States, was sworn in as Haiti’s new prime minister on Tuesday, as the country started formal mourning rituals for murdered President Jovenel Mose, and police expanded the list of suspects in his assassination.
Dr. Henry was sworn in as the country’s new leader as it tries to establish a new administration and deal with growing social unrest.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal only hours after assuming office, he said, “The primary objective is elections.” Those should take place within 120 days, with an electoral council in charge, which he said needed to be reformed since Mr. Mose had chosen the present body illegitimately.
The new prime minister said, “This council cannot arrange elections.” “The people have lost faith in them. They are distrusted by political parties. It’s self-evident.”
New board members will need to be selected, according to Dr. Henry, so that elections may take place as soon as feasible. He said he will meet with existing members on Wednesday and engage with other political actors to guarantee a calm campaigning atmosphere in the weeks ahead and on election day. Dr. Henry and his ministers would not run for president in the elections, which will also elect members of congress, he added.
Haiti has been engulfed in gangland violence that is hurting the economy, with a parliament that has been dissolved due to a lack of elections and a Supreme Court that has been unable to operate since its president died of Covid-19.
“To solve the problem, all Haitians must band together. Mr. Henry remarked during his inauguration on Tuesday afternoon, “I’m not a magician.”
Dr. Henry stated in the interview that his government is dealing with a worse-than-expected financial position, widespread hunger, and the pandemic. “At the end of the day, we have to demonstrate the people that they have a government in charge,” he added.
The 71-year-old believes that restoring security and investor trust, as well as effectively combating Covid-19, are critical. After receiving its first allocation, a 500,000-dose gift from the United States, Haiti began giving vaccinations in recent days.
At a ceremony in Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry, center, and new Foreign Minister Claude Joseph, foreground with glasses, paid tribute to murdered Haitian President Jovenel Mose.
Despite the fact that the former prime minister, Claude Joseph, requested assistance from the Biden administration to restore order in Haiti, Mr. Henry said that his government “will not seek for assistance from the United States government simply to ask.” Even though the US has so far rejected calls for soldiers, he indicated he could seek unspecified assistance for particular projects.
“If we ask for anything, we must have a certain goal in mind. “It is not enough for me to simply battle the gangs,” he added. “What are you going to do after the soldiers are withdrawn? You must have a thorough strategy.” The Biden administration is “extremely worried about what’s going on [in Haiti],” according to Dr. Henry, who was chosen as the country’s temporary leader by the US and European powers. They place a high value on the country’s stability.”
Dr. Henry, who has spoken with US authorities, said that if Haiti devolves into chaos, Haitians would flee to the Caribbean in boats in the hopes of landing in Florida, as they did in the past. “If they flee the nation, they’ll end up on American beaches.” He was alluding to the Americans when he stated, “They don’t want to witness that.”
Mr. Joseph, who had been acting as Mr. Mose’s temporary prime minister, was replaced by Dr. Henry. Dr. Henry had been appointed Prime Minister only a few days before the murder, but he had been unable to assume office. In an agreement reached between the two men, Mr. Joseph was designated as Dr. Henry’s new foreign minister, resulting in the transfer.
For the time being, the inauguration is expected to calm a succession dispute that erupted after Mr. Mose’s death. For more than two years, he had ruled by decree, enraging many in Haiti’s political and economic elite.
The worldwide mystery surrounding Mr. Mose’s gruesome murder in the early hours of July 7 in the bedroom of his private home remains unsolved.
Three police officers and a private security contractor were detained on suspicion of being involved in the assassination plan on Tuesday, according to authorities. The National Police of Haiti has detained 26 individuals, including local officials, three Haitian-Americans, and 18 Colombian mercenaries accused of carrying out the raid on Mr. Mose’s home, according to police.
The FBI has sent eight agents to Haiti to help the police, whose reputations have been damaged as a result of the investigation.
Seven Haitian police officers are being held in isolation, including Dimitri Herard, the former commander of Mr. Mose’s presidential security. Authorities said they’re being interrogated but haven’t been charged yet. The guards’ apparent lack of resistance to the attackers is one of the many perplexing aspects of the incident.
Following the murder of President Jovenel Mose, Haitian police claimed they killed four suspects and detained two more. His assassination adds to the country’s political instability, which has long been roiled by lawlessness and economic problems. Associated Press photo/Joseph Odelyn
On accusations of murder, authorities have issued arrest warrants for at least six individuals, including a former Haitian senator. They are considered fugitives by the police.
Dr. Henry promised to bring justice in his inauguration speech. He said, “They will pay for what they did.” “We’ll track down everyone who took part.”
Many Haitians think the assassin is still at large since police have revealed little evidence against the accused and have not given a motive.
“There is no justice,” Emmanuel Prince, an unemployed painter who backed Mr. Mose, said. “This individual attempted to alter the system. He was assassinated because of it. I no longer have faith in any of these politicians.”
Earlier in the day, mourners gathered at the National Pantheon Museum in Port-au-Prince for a somber service. As a picture of Mr. Mose hung nearby among bouquets of white flowers, Haitian political leaders and international dignitaries clad in black queued up to sign a memorial service book.
Mr. Mose, a former banana plantation manager known as “Banana Man,” will be laid to rest in the northern port city of Cap-Hatien, near where he was born, on Friday.
When asked whether he is scared of taking control following Mr. Mose’s assassination, Dr. Henry said, “I am not worried.” When I took this job, I knew it would put my life in jeopardy. I’ll take it.”
Kejal Vyas and Juan Montes may be reached at [email protected] and [email protected], respectively.
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The latest news on haitian president is a topic that has been in the headlines for some time. Haiti’s new leader, Jovenel Moïse, was inaugurated two weeks after President Jocelerme Privert’s assassination.
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