Transitional Ruling Council Finally Forms In Anarchic Haiti

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) AFP

Port-au-Prince: A governing council tasked with filling a leadership vacuum in Haiti and restoring a semblance of order was formerly installed Friday in the Caribbean nation that has been rocked by an explosion of gang violence.

A decree in Haiti's official gazette "Le Moniteur" announced the council's formation, a month after prime minister Ariel Henry said he would step down amid a wave of gang attacks in the capital.

The Friday announcement, which had been delayed for weeks by political squabbling, is a hopeful step in efforts to establish conditions for deployment of a UN-approved international police force.

Crucially, the formation of the council is also a first step toward holding a presidential election by early 2026.

However, questions remain over whether the US-backed interim government -- dubbed a Presidential Transitional Council -- will be able to impose its authority over well-armed gangs that control much of the capital Port-au-Prince.

A UN agency recently likened conditions in Haiti to a "scene out of Mad Max," the Hollywood fantasy famous for its depictions of roving gangs in an apocalyptic landscape.

"The Presidential Transition Council exercises specific presidential powers during the transition period until the investiture of the elected President, which must take place no later than February 7, 2026," the decree on Friday said.

Haiti has not held elections since 2016 and has been without a president since Jovenel Moise was assassinated in 2021.

Henry was in Kenya in February, trying to organize the international police force deployment, when gangs launched a coordinated attack and demanded the 74-year-old's resignation.

Some 4,000 inmates were released in gang raids on Haiti's two biggest prisons. Police stations came under assault and attacks on the country's airport resulted in Haiti being largely cut from the outside world.

Countries including the United States and EU members have evacuated their diplomats and nationals as security conditions worsened.

UNICEF, the UN children's agency, warned that serious hunger and malnutrition were taking hold in Haiti, which has struggled to recover from a 2010 earthquake which saw an estimated 220,000 people killed.

After intense US and regional pressure, Henry agreed to step aside and facilitate formation of the transitional council.

He had been Haiti's unelected leader since 2021, when he was appointed by then-president Moise.


The Peninsula

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