Transitional ruling council finally forms in anarchic Haiti

A governing council tasked with filling a leadership vacuum in Haiti and restoring a semblance of order was formally established Friday in the Caribbean nation, which 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 attacks by armed gangs 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 U.N.-approved international police force, which Kenya has agreed to lead.

The decree tasks the council with "rapidly" appointing a new prime minister and a government "inclusive" of Haiti's various political factions.

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

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

"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 Feb. 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....

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