Haiti establishes transitional ruling council amid crisis

By Michael Rios and Mariya Knight, CNN

CNN  — 

A transitional council responsible for choosing Haiti’s next leadership has been established after weeks of uncertainty, according to a decree published in Haiti’s official state journal.

The move comes a month after Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced he would step down once the council is inaugurated and names a new prime minister and cabinet.

The council, composed of seven voting members and two non-voting observers, is tasked with choosing and appointing a new prime minister as well as an “impartial” electoral council, the decree reads.

It will exercise certain presidential powers until a new president-elect is inaugurated, which must take place no later than February 7, 2026.

The council’s mandate will end on that date and cannot be extended, the decree reads.

The members of the council are Fritz Alphonse Jean, Louis Gérald Gilles, Edgard Leblanc Fils, Emmanuel Vertilaire, Smith Augustin, Lesly Voltaire, Laurent Saint Cyr, Frinel Joseph and Régine Abraham, according to a press release from the council.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) welcomed the news in a statement on Friday.

“The establishment of the nine-member broad-based, politically inclusive Council signals the possibility of a new beginning for Haiti,” the statement read.

According to CARICOM, one of the first priorities of the newly installed council will be to urgently address the security situation in the region.

CARICOM, which worked with Haiti last month to develop a framework for the transitional council, said there are still challenges ahead, but that it would support Haiti as it determines its future.

Since February, attacks by an insurgent alliance of gangs in capital Port-au-Prince have made the city’s international airport and seaport nonfunctional, breaking vital supply lines of food and aid and triggering an exodus of evacuation flights for foreign nationals.

Cut off from the world, more and more Haitians are now going hungry, aid workers are warning. According to the United Nations, nearly 5 million people in Haiti are suffering from acute food insecurity, in what the World Food Programme’s country director Jean-Martin Bauer described as the worst humanitarian crisis to hit the Caribbean nation since the 2010 earthquake.

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