Following Haitian president Jovenel Moïse’s assassination on July 7, the country is looking to quickly elect a new leader.
According to Reuters, on July 28, Haiti’s new Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who has been in office since last week, said at a brief news conference, “The mission of this government is to prepare the conditions to hold the elections as quickly as possible.”
Henry did not give a possible date but did say the goal is to stop “all irritants” that could hinder the country from having an election.
Before Moïse’s assassination, he wanted to change the constitution to give more power to the presidency over the parliament. Henry did not address the constitutional reform at the press conference.
Haiti is known historically for successfully rebelling against and ousting its slaveholding French colonizers in 1804, to begin as a new republic. But afterward it was economically choked by European and American powers consistently stifling its growth. The assassination of Moïse is the latest of decades, and perhaps generations, of instability in Haiti including the days of François “Papa Doc” Duvalier, and his son Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier.
Moïse, 53, had been accused of autocracy and corruption by his critics, spurring massive demonstrations. He had been in power since February of 2017, but his opposition said that his five-year term began in 2016 and was set to end in February of 2021. However, those results were negated by Haiti’s electoral council. Moïse has said because of that, he ran and won again and took office in 2017, which would make him set to step down next year.
President Moïse was assassinated on the morning of July 7 when an armed collective approached his estate and opened fire. A motive has not yet been revealed.