NewsHaiti Announces New Transition Council to Lead Until 2026 Elections

Haiti Announces New Transition Council to Lead Until 2026 Elections

Haiti announced on Tuesday the names of the members of the transitional council, which is to take over power after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Haiti announced on Tuesday the names of the members of the transitional council, which is to take over power after the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.
Images source: © East News | RICHARD PIERRIN
9:36 AM EDT, April 17, 2024

In Haiti, a transitional council composed of politicians, business representatives, and civil society leaders has been elected. This nine-member body is set to serve until February 2026 and is tasked with appointing a new prime minister and organizing elections. It also aims to bolster security across the island.

On Tuesday, Haiti revealed the names of the transitional council members following Prime Minister Ariel Henry's resignation, as reported by Reuters Agency. The council is expected to select a new prime minister and conduct the island's first elections since 2016.

The transitional council, which was finalized just on Friday, consists of seven voting members and two non-voting members. The roster includes influential figures such as former central bank president Fritz Alphonse Jean, ex-ambassador to the Dominican Republic Smith Augustin, lawyer Emmanuel Vertilaire, and former senate president Edgard Leblanc. Businessman Laurent Saint-Cyr, former senator Louis Gerald Gilles, and ex-diplomat Leslie Voltaire also make up the voting members. The non-voting observers are evangelical pastor Frinel Joseph, former World Bank employee, and environmental ministry official Regine Abraham.

The first elections since 2016

Since 2016, Haiti has been without elections. The assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021 led Ariel Henry to assume power, according to a report by Barron's via AFP. Last year, it was agreed that UN-supported forces led by Kenya would assist in curbing gang activities. These forces, however, are yet to be deployed. In February, Prime Minister Henry sought support in Kenya amidst a coordinated gang attack, which culminated in calls for his resignation at the age of 74.

Criminal groups are estimated to command around 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince, as per "The Financial Times." Over 360,000 people have been displaced due to gang violence, with half of the country facing starvation, reports the UN. Therefore, addressing security and humanitarian crises remains paramount for the transitional council.

Establishing the council comes with risks

The council's mandate extends until February 2026. Yet, the member approval process could be protracted, with the likelihood of several candidates being rejected, as per Reuters. Judes Jonathas, a former humanitarian worker and Haitian consultant quoted by the Financial Times, highlighted the risks of establishing the council. "Nomination is the easy part, formally acknowledged in official documents," Jonathas stated. The real challenge lies in governing from the national palace, besieged by gangs."

Source: Reuters Agency, Financial Times, Barron's

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