claude joseph haiti
Claude Joseph, Haiti's Minister of Foreign Affairs, speaking at an event in the Dominican Republic.

As July 7 drew to a close, a tumultuous day that started with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in the early morning hours, the prime minister’s office announced its intention to hold elections this fall. 

A constitutional referendum, along with legislative and presidential elections, are scheduled for Sept. 26. The government said the untimely death of Moïse will not impact this schedule. 

“The Head of Government promises to hold talks with opposition leaders and other actors in national life to calm the socio-political climate and facilitate inclusive and credible elections according to the timetable set by the Provisional Electoral Council,” interim prime minister Claude Joseph’s office announced in a statement. 

Joseph, who was selected as an interim prime minister, is now serving as the country’s de facto president. He spoke on the phone with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken about maintaining peace and democracy in the country. 

Reacting to the news of Moise’s death on July 7, Firmin Backer, president of the Haiti Renewal Alliance  in Washington, D.C. said he expected a contentious process of naming a successor, followed by elections. He called for steps to defuse the situation. 

“My preference is to have a national dialogue in order to have a national reconciliation to move on,” said Backer. “It’s a sad thing, but it could be also an opportunity.”

As night fell, The Associated Press reported that Haiti’s police chief said four suspected killers of the President had been fatally shot by police and two others were arrested in an apparent hostage-taking situation.

Léon Charles said late Wednesday that three police officers held hostage were freed.

Sam is a reporter for The Haitian Times and a 2020 Report for America fellow. He has covered Haiti and its diaspora since 2018. His work has also appeared in USA Today, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Haiti Liberte. Sam can be reached at sam@haitiantimes.com or on Twitter @sambojarski.

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