The much-anticipated Haitian Presidential Transitional Council was officially created on Friday, April 12, following weeks of tense negotiations and a month after the announcement of the resignation of disputed Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

The formation of this body in the country plagued by gang violence was made official by a decree signed by Mr. Henry and published in the official newspaper, Le Moniteur. Its aim will be to try to restore public order and stability. Its members will have to “rapidly” appoint a prime minister as well as an “inclusive” government, according to the text. “The mandate of the Presidential Transitional Council ends, at the latest, on February 7, 2026,” the document adds.

The council is not yet formally in charge of the country and Ariel Henry “will present the resignation of his government following the appointment of a new prime minister”, it is specified.

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) welcomed the creation of the council, calling it “a new beginning” for the impoverished country plagued by gang violence and poverty. Caricom countries “welcome today’s publication of the decree establishing the Presidential Transitional Council in Haiti. The establishment of this nine-member council, broadly representative and politically inclusive, raises the possibility of a new beginning for Haiti,” according to the press release issued by the group, based in Georgetown, capital of Guyana.

Weeks of complex negotiations

Haiti, a poor Caribbean country, has suffered from chronic political instability for decades. At the end of February, the gangs, whose violence was already ravaging entire sections of the territory, launched coordinated attacks against strategic sites, saying they wanted to overthrow Ariel Henry. The latter, appointed a few days before the assassination in 2021 of President Jovenel Moïse, was strongly contested. He was unable to return to his country after a trip to Kenya.

On March 11, the same day as a meeting between Haitians and several organizations and countries such as the United States, he announced that he would resign to make way for a transitional presidential council.

It took several weeks of complex negotiations, marked by reversals, for this council to see the light of day. The cause is disagreements between political parties and other stakeholders but also with the outgoing government, not to mention doubts about the very legality of such a body.

No elections since 2016

The council will be composed of seven voting members, representing the main political forces in Haiti and the private sector. The decree names the chosen political parties but does not mention by name the people who must be part of them. Two observers without the right to vote will also represent the voice of civil society, the other of the religious community.

People charged or convicted by the courts, under UN sanctions, intending to run in the next elections in Haiti and/or opposing the UN resolution on the deployment of a multinational mission will be excluded from the council. security support.

Without a president or parliament, Haiti has not had an election since 2016. The capital is 80% in the hands of criminal gangs, accused of numerous abuses, in particular murders, rapes, looting and kidnappings for ransom.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday that nearly 100,000 people had fled the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area in a month to seek safety from escalating gang attacks.