Port-au-Prince in Haiti — Haitians begin a series of official ceremonies on Tuesday while waiting for a new leader to honor President Jovenel Moise about two weeks after being assassinated at home.
Moise’s body was scheduled to be open to the public before dawn at the National Pantheon Museum in the capital of Port-au-Prince, officials said. He was shot multiple times during the July 7 attack, when his wife was seriously injured.
The ceremony takes place when designated Prime Minister Ariel Henry prepares to replace interim Prime Minister Claude-Joseph, who became Haiti’s leader after the killing, with police and military support.
It wasn’t immediately clear when Henry would swear, but he promised in an audio recording that he would soon announce who would form a tentative consensus government to lead Haiti until the elections took place.
“We need this unity to overcome the many challenges that plague us,” Henry said. “Some people have been surprised to observe recent events, while others have some reason to wonder about the administration of the country.”
Henry said he met with a variety of unidentified actors, as well as civil society and the private sector. “I will continue and deepen these discussions as it is the only way to connect the Haiti family,” he said.
Haiti’s Election Minister Matthias Pierre told The Associated Press Monday that Joseph would resign and hand over his position to Henry. Henry was elected to the post by Moise shortly before he was killed, but was not sworn in.
The change in leadership comes after a group of major international diplomats called on Henry to create a “comprehensive government based on consensus” in a statement released Saturday that did not mention Joseph. The core group consists of ambassadors from Germany, Brazil, Canada, Spain, the United States, France and the European Union, as well as representatives of the United Nations and US organizations.
Robert Fatton, a Haiti political expert at the University of Virginia, said Joseph’s departure is expected.
“Joseph’s fate was sealed over the weekend,” he said. “Everything that happens in Haiti has a powerful foreign element.”
On Monday, the United Nations said Joseph and Henry had made great strides last week to end the deadlock and supported dialogue to find a “minimal agreement” for fair legislation and the presidential election. ..
Authorities arrested more than 20 suspects allegedly directly involved in the killing. The majority of them are former Colombian soldiers, and many officials say they have been fooled.