Haiti interim prime minister Joseph set to step down this week By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph gives a press conference almost a week after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, July 13, 2021. REUTERS / Ricardo Arduengo

By Andre Paultre and Daphne Psaledakis

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Claude Joseph, who has nominally led Haiti as incumbent Prime Minister since the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, may hand over power to a challenger backed by the international community as early as Tuesday , a Haitian official said.

The announcement appears to end a power struggle in the Caribbean nation between Joseph and Ariel Henry, the 71-year-old neurosurgeon who was named prime minister two days before Moise was assassinated but has yet to be sworn in.

Haitian Foreign Ministry senior official Israel Jacky Cantave said Joseph took the lead after Moise’s assassination to ensure the continuity of the state but would hand over power to Henry once there is consensus on the country’s future and that Protests have calmed down.

Cantave said Haiti’s Council of Ministers will meet on Monday and that if all goes well, Joseph could hand over power to Henry in a ceremony on Tuesday.

Reuters was unable to immediately phone Joseph for comment.

Moise was shot dead when attackers with assault rifles stormed his private home in the hills above Port-au-Prince. The assassination has plunged America’s poorest country into political uncertainty at a time of increasing gang violence that has displaced thousands of people and hampered economic activity.

Joseph told the Washington Post in an interview published Monday that he and Henry had met privately last week and agreed on Sunday to step down “for the good of the nation” and be ready to take power “as soon as possible.” transfer possible. “

Haiti, a country of around 11 million people, has struggled for stability since the fall of the Duvalier dynasty’s dictatorship in 1986 and has grappled with a number of coups d’état and foreign interventions.

On Saturday, the ‘core group’ of international ambassadors and representatives https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/martine-moise-widow-assassinated-president-returns-haiti-2021-07-18 urged a consensual and inclusive government. “

“To this end, we strongly encourage Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” the group said.

The core group consists of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France and the European Union as well as special representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The group also called for the organization of “free, fair, transparent and credible parliamentary and presidential elections as soon as possible”.

US President Joe Biden welcomed reports that Haitian politicians were discussing ways to work together after the attack, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday.

Henry told Reuters on July 9 that he sees Joseph not as an interim prime minister but as the foreign minister who has taken office.

“My installation should be done as soon as possible. I am working on the formation of the government, I advise and should accelerate my deliberations,” he said in an interview.

A Colombian police chief said on Friday: https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/haiti-justice-min-ex-official-could-have-ordered-moise-killing-colombia-police-2021-07-16 the killing may have been ordered by a former Haitian Justice Department official, citing a preliminary investigation involving Haitian Americans and former Colombian soldiers.

Martine Moise, the assassinated president’s widow, returned to Haiti for his funeral on Saturday after receiving treatment in a Miami hospital for her injuries sustained in the attack.

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