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Haiti's Prime Minister Ariel Henry has resigned as a transitional council takes over

Michel Patrick Boisvert (center), who was named interim prime minister by outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henry, attends the swearing-in ceremony of the transitional council tasked with selecting Haiti's new prime minister and cabinet, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Ramon Espinosa
/
AP
Michel Patrick Boisvert (center), who was named interim prime minister by outgoing Prime Minister Ariel Henry, attends the swearing-in ceremony of the transitional council tasked with selecting Haiti's new prime minister and cabinet, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Haiti's de facto prime minister, Ariel Henry, has resigned and a new transitional council has been sworn in in the capital of Port-au-Prince. Finance Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert has been appointed as the interim prime minister.

The nine-person transitional council, including seven who have voting powers, was sworn in during a small ceremony in the grounds of the National Palace, with few invited guests. Local news outlets published video of the moment in which the members of the council promised to protect constitution — as gunfire can be heard in the distance.

Gangs in Haiti had vowed to topple the government and keep the transitional council from taking power. The criminal gangs control most of the capitaland have attacked the airport, police stations and other government installations, effectively cutting the capital off from the outside world for months now.

According to the United Nations' humanitarian office, there are more than 90,000 displaced people in the capital alone. The head of UNICEF, Catherine Russell, told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that 3 million children need humanitarian assistance. "The situation in Haiti is catastrophic, and it grows worse by the day," she said.

Haiti's now former prime minister, Henry, is currently in Los Angeles — unable to return to Haiti since leaving earlier this year. Henry had been on an official visit to Kenya trying to secure an international peacekeeping force, but the swell of gang-led violence in the Haitian capital meant he was unable to return. In March, he announced his intention to step down once a transitional council had been appointed.

The transitional council is expected to pave the way for an international peacekeeping force.

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.

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