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Haiti: transitional council members announced

Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry gives a public lecture at the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi, Kenya. 01/03/2024   -  
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Andrew Kasuku/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved


Haitis's new transitional council members were announced on Tuesday night. In the capital Port-au-Prince, residents reacted to the news with hope that it will bring much-needed stability to the country.

The council will be tasked with choosing the country's next prime minister and Cabinet and is expected to soon trigger the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry. 

A new provision said Henry would step down when a new premier is chosen.

Following the announcement of the names of members of the council overnight Tuesday, some residents in the capital responded with cautious optimism.

"We hope this presidential Council will do better," local resident and teacher Jhony Rock said, adding he hoped the new council would bring stability and restore security to the troubled Caribbean country where most of the capital remains under the grip of criminal gangs.

Librarian Oseuis Frantzy said he was one of the thousands who had to leave his home when gangs took over his neighbourhood.

“I see there are some credible names in the presidential council. The only thing I would like to see is that they work on security in the country,” Frantzy said .

The council's creation came exactly a month and one day after Caribbean leaders announced plans to help form the nine-member panel, with seven members awarded voting powers.

Friday’s development was cheered by those who believe the council could help steer Haiti in a new direction and help quell widespread gang violence that has paralyzed swaths of the capital of Port-au-Prince for more than a month.

More than 1,550 people have been killed across Haiti and more than 820 injured from January to March 22, according to the United Nations.

In addition, gang violence has forced nearly 95,000 people to flee Port-au-Prince in the span of one month, with more than half of them having previously been left homeless as gunmen raze neighbourhoods, the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

The transition presidential council will also be responsible for helping set the agenda of a new Cabinet and will appoint members to form a provisional electoral council, which is needed before elections are held.

While an election date hasn’t been set, the decree stated that the president-elect must be sworn in on February 7, 2026, at the latest, and that the council will exercise presidential powers until then.

The decree, which was signed by Henry and his Cabinet, noted that no one can be a member of the council if they have been sanctioned by the U.N., oppose the deployment of a foreign armed force or plan to run in the next general election, among other conditions.

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