Haiti’s interim prime minister to step down amid turmoil after president’s assassination

Claude Joseph, surrounded by men in suits and masks, speaks into a microphone.
Haiti’s interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph speaks at a news conference in Port-au-Prince on Friday.
(Joseph Odelyn / Associated Press)

Haiti’s Prime Minister-designate Ariel Henry will replace the country’s interim prime minister to honor the wishes of the country’s slain president, an official told the Associated Press on Monday.

It wasn’t immediately clear how quickly interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has been leading Haiti with the backing of police and the military since the July 7 assassination of President Jovenel Moise, would step down.

“Negotiations are still in course,” Haiti Elections Minister Mathias Pierre said, adding that Joseph would go back to being minister of foreign affairs.


Joseph could not be immediately reached for comment, and Henry did not return a message for comment.

The change follows a statement Saturday from a key group of international diplomats that appeared to snub Joseph with its call for the creation of “a consensual and inclusive government.”

“To this end, it strongly encourages the designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry to continue the mission entrusted to him to form such a government,” the statement from the so-called Core Group said.

Ex-soldiers from Colombia have been implicated in the assassination of the Haitian president.

July 18, 2021

The Core Group is composed of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the U.S., France and the European Union and representatives from the United Nations and the Organization of American States.

The statement was issued hours after Moise’s wife, Martine, arrived back in Haiti on Saturday aboard a private jet clad in black and wearing a bulletproof vest. Martine Moise, who was injured in the gun attack that killed her husband, has not issued a statement or spoken publicly as the government prepares for his funeral on Friday, which will be held in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Jovenel Moise designated Henry as prime minister a day before Moise was killed, but Henry had not been sworn in.