Ariel Henry, tapped by late Haitian President Jovenel Moise to be the new prime minister just days before he was assassinated, arrives to the official memorial services for Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 20, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

By Samuel Celiné

In an abrupt turn of events Monday, Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph ceded power to the permanent Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, named just two days before President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination. Through a decree published late Monday in Le Moniteur, the Haitian government’s official newspaper, Henry then swiftly announced his government.

The July 19 decree that named the members of Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government.

The announcement brings an end to the power struggle between Haitian politicians to rule Haiti in the wake of Moïse July 7 assassination. Joseph, who has served the dual roles of minister of foreign affairs and acting prime minister, said he had stepped down “for the good of the country.” He had assumed leadership of Haiti hours after Moïse’s death, but Henry quickly challenged his authority.

Two days before Moïse’s brutal killing, the president had declared Henry as the new prime minister. Henry, a neurosurgeon, was meant to be sworn last week. 

Henry, who has kept Joseph as his government’s foreign minister, will rule Haiti until a new president is elected, according to the decree.

The international community, mainly the United Nations, factored heavily in Joseph’s decision to step down as prime minister in the latest twist for government control in Haiti, sources close to all parties told The Haitian Times. 

Joseph’s decision follows a statement from the Core Group calling on Henry to form his government. The Core Group is composed of the special representative of the United Nations Secretary-General; the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, the European Union and United States; and the special representative of the Organization of American States.

Core’s statement urges the new government to form a unity government that can stabilize the country, and build the foundation for free and fair elections. 

Despite Henry’s ascension, replacing the president may still prove confusing because Haiti’s 2012 amended constitution provides different instructions on what to do when the president can no longer serve.

The country’s last remaining elected officials, 10 senators out of 30 who formed the Senate, have also sought to form a new transitional government. Last week, eight of the legislators, who had been dismissed by the assassinated president, signed a resolution to declare Senate President Joseph Lambert as Haiti’s provisional president.

The new government 

Henry will largely retain the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor in his government. In all the new 17-member government’s appointees include:

Members of Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s government.
  • Joseph, who will remain in his original post as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Worship
  • Desras Simon Dieuseul, Minister of Planning and External Cooperation
  • Patrick Michel Boisvert, Minister of the Economy and Finance
  • Charlot Bredy, Minister of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Development
  • Wilson Edouard, Minister of Infrastructure, Transport and Communication
  • Ricarden Saint-Jean, Minister of Commerce and Industry
  • James Cadet, Minister of the Environment
  • Luz Kurta Cassandra François, Minister of Tourism
  • Rockefeller Vincent, Minister of Justice and Public Security
  • Judith Nazareth Auguste, Minister for Haitians Living Abroad
  • Lizt Quitel, Minister of the Interior and Local Authorities
  • Marie Lucie Joseph, Minister of National Education
  • Marie Greta Roy Clément, Minister of Public Health and Population
  • Sofia Loreus, Minister for the Status of Women
  • Patrick Justin, Minister of Youth, Sports and Civic Action
  • Jean Emmanuel Jacquet, Minister of Culture and Communication
  • Enold Joseph, Minister of Defense 

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