Haiti Has A New Prime Minister.

Photo: Courtesy of elmundo.cr. Fritz Belizaire is now Prime Minister of Haiti.
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Haiti’s transitional council on Tuesday elected Fritz Belizaire, a former youth and sports minister, as the country’s new prime minister. He is almost unknown on the international scene, and nothing is known of his political views or his plans for Haiti, but now takes on one of the most scrutinized political posts in the world.

The Council, which is leading the chaotic Caribbean nation, chose Belizaire during a ceremony in the capital, Port-au-Prince, following the March resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

Michel Patrick Boisvert, former finance minister, was filling the role on an interim basis.

The seven-member voting body was sworn in last week to restore security to the dysfunctional country.

 They also appointed Edgard Leblanc Fils as head of the institution in charge of the transition in the country.

“The first thing that is important for us is cohesion. It is the will and determination to overcome factions and conflict and reach a consensus through debates and negotiations,” Fils said after his election, adding that he is committed to the period of 21 months at the head of the government transition.

However, according to AP News “a person with direct knowledge of the situation who did not want to be identified because negotiations are ongoing said the council’s political accord had been violated by the unexpected move and that some council members are considering other choices as potential prime minister.”

Haiti plunged into instability after a plane carrying Henry was forced to land in the U.S. Caribbean territory of Puerto Rico when it was denied entry into the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti.

Henry had departed Haiti the week before to attend the CARICOM Leaders summit in the South American nation of Guyana and then traveled to the west African nation of Kenya to sign a bi-lateral accord authorizing the deployment of a Kenyan-led multinational United Nations Security Support force (MSS) to Haiti.

The gangs used Henry’s absence to attack the national penitentiary and another prison in Port-au-Prince, killing several people and allowing thousands of inmates to escape into the city. Gangs also staged shooting attacks on Haiti’s main airport.

Henry was due to step down in February but had delayed elections due to the worsening security situation and a political stalemate with opposition forces.

What happens next in Haiti is far from clear. The current problem is not so much the lack of an executive branch, but that armed gangs are controlling the streets and supply routes. Will Haiti be able to reach internal stability, or will it have to call in foreign assistance?

Sources: VOA, AP News, France 24.
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