Haitian prime minister to resign, clearing way for new government

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Ariel Henry, Haiti’s embattled prime minister, will resign once a transitional presidential council is established and an interim leader is selected, Caribbean Community leaders said late Monday.

The arrangement, announced after a lengthy meeting in Jamaica among Caribbean Community leaders and U.S. officials, paves the way “for a peaceful transition of power, continuity of governance, an action plan for near-term security and the road to free and fair elections,” Guyanese President Irfaan Ali said.

“To that end, we acknowledge the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry upon the establishment of a transitional presidential council and the naming of an interim prime minister,” Ali said.

The announcement of Henry’s resignation comes as Haiti faces one of its worst crises in decades. Armed gangs have tightened their grip on the country’s capital, attacked the airport and main port and threatened a civil war unless the prime minister steps down. Last week, Henry was unable to return home from a diplomatic trip to Kenya. With the Port-au-Prince airport under attack, he flew instead to Puerto Rico.

Haitians shot dead in street and there’s no one to take the corpses away

As the violence escalated over the past week, Henry faced intense pressure from the international community — and from Haitians — to step aside to make way for a new transitional government.

For the past year, U.S. officials have pressed the 74-year-old neurosurgeon to work with a transitional council to help bring elections, a senior State Department official told The Washington Post last week, but he had shown an “unwillingness to cede real power.”

Last week, as the violence in Haiti became “untenable,” the United States and the Caribbean Community proposed an expedited transition of power in which a transitional council would appoint an interim prime minister and Henry would step down, according to the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under State Department rules. Henry would not be involved in the organization of that council, according to the U.S. proposal, the official said.

The Haitian presidency has been vacant since the still-unsolved 2021 assassination of Jovenel Moïse; the National Assembly has been empty since the last lawmakers’ terms expired last year. That has left Henry, an unelected and unpopular prime minister, to lead the country.

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