Haiti Forms Transitional Council Amid Ongoing Uncertainties

Haiti establishes Transitional Presidential Council to facilitate peaceful transition, but challenges remain amid political vacuum and gang violence. The council's success is crucial for Haiti's stability and democratic future.

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Haiti Forms Transitional Council Amid Ongoing Uncertainties

Haiti Forms Transitional Council Amid Ongoing Uncertainties

Haiti has established a Transitional Presidential Council (TPC) to facilitate a peaceful transition of power and pave the way for new elections, but uncertainties remain as the country contends with a political vacuum and widespread gang violence. The nine-member council, which was formally decreed by the outgoing government of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, is tasked with choosing Haiti's next prime minister and cabinet.

However, the composition of the TPC has been met with mixed reactions, as some political actors claim that the fine print of the proclamation regarding the presidential transitional council may not align with a previous agreement reached in Kingston last month. The participants involved in the council's formation have demanded that it be seated "as soon as possible," charging that Henry has altered the conditions of their prior accord.

Haiti has been consumed by escalating political instability and gang violence since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. Elections have not been conducted in the country since 2016, and the government has largely disappeared in the face of overwhelming criminal control. Up to 80 percent of the capital, Port-au-Prince, is now under the influence of powerful armed gangs.

Why this matters:The establishment of the Transitional Presidential Council marks a pivotal step towards restoring stability and democratic governance in Haiti. The success of this transitional process will have far-reaching implications for the country's future and the well-being of its citizens, who have been grappling with a severe humanitarian crisis and rampant insecurity.

The international community, including the United Nations, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), and the United States, has welcomed the creation of the TPC. CARICOM, through its Eminent Persons Group, is expected to remain fully engaged in the process to help Haiti traverse this critical political period. The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has urged all Haitian stakeholders to continue making progress in putting in place transitional governance arrangements and has reiterated his call for member states to contribute to the Multinational Security Support mission authorized by the UN Security Council.

Despite the creation of the transitional council, Haiti continues to face daunting challenges. The current Prime Minister, Ariel Henry, has been unable to return to the country due to criminal gang activity, and the capital remains largely inaccessible. Haitian journalists and Reporters Without Borders have appealed for international help to protect journalists amid ongoing attacks by armed gangs. At least six Haitian journalists have been killed in connection with their work since 2022, and many have been forced to flee the country.

The TPC will need to work closely with the international community to accelerate the deployment of the Multinational Security Support mission and address the root causes of gang violence. As Ralph Edmond, a Haitian entrepreneur, emphasizes, social inclusion and job creation will be indispensable in providing alternatives to criminal activity. The transitional council faces the monumental task of steering Haiti towards stability, holding free and fair elections, and restoring constitutional government in a country that has been plagued by political upheaval and insecurity for far too long.

Key Takeaways

  • Haiti establishes Transitional Presidential Council to facilitate power transition.
  • Composition of council faces mixed reactions, with concerns over prior agreements.
  • Haiti grapples with political instability, gang violence, and humanitarian crisis.
  • International community welcomes council's creation, calls for security support mission.
  • Council faces challenges in restoring stability, holding elections, and addressing root causes.