RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The UN declared Thursday (8) that it sees Claude Joseph as Haiti’s prime minister and, for the moment, as the person at the head of the country until elections are held, while calling for dialogue to resolve disputes over who should assume power after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise.
The United Nations representative for Haiti, Helen La Lime, pointed out in a press conference that Joseph “is the prime minister” and that, according to the interpretation of the Constitution that he has conveyed to her, it is up to his government to lead the country and take it to the holding of elections to choose a new president, which he has committed to holding according to the existing timetable.
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At the same time, La Lime acknowledged that there are “certain tensions” and different interpretations of the Constitution and therefore urged a political dialogue, insisting that it is something to be decided by the Haitians.
Joseph, the chancellor, has held the post of interim prime minister since last April and has effectively assumed power since the assassination became known.
However, his legitimacy has begun to be questioned by politician Ariel Henry in a series of interviews given to local media between Wednesday night and Thursday.
Ariel Henry, former Minister of Interior and Labor during the government of Michel Martelly (2011-2016), was appointed Prime Minister last Monday, in the last decree signed by Moise before his death, but was not officially sworn into office.
Henry has stated that Joseph “is not prime minister” but is the chancellor of the cabinet that he is preparing. He intends to make a rapprochement with the opposition to calm political tensions until the elections are scheduled for September 26.
However, Henry assured that his intention “is not to add fuel to the fire”, since it is necessary “to avoid that the country becomes inflamed”, but he asked Joseph that both talk to reach an agreement.
The UN envoy stressed the importance of using dialogue and said that any change at the country’s helm that deviates from that marked by the Constitution must be the result of “a political agreement between the parties involved.”
“Our role as the United Nations is to follow the matter and support as appropriate,” said La Lime, who noted that Joseph is also committed to dialogue and talks to all political forces and sectors in the country.
The UN diplomat, who met with the prime minister yesterday, said she received assurances that he is determined to continue the election process according to the timetable presented last week, which calls for elections to be held on September 26.