Haiti’s Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph to Step Down Amid Power Struggle After Assassination of President Jovenel Moïse

Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph gives a press conference almost a week after the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Ricardo Arduengo

Interim Haitian Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who took over leadership of the country after President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated, will reportedly step down and hand the reins to his challenger.

Joseph and Ariel Henry, a neurosurgeon whom Moïse had appointed prime minister two days before he was gunned down on July 7, had both vied for domestic and international support after the power vacuum created by the assassination.

He had claimed that Henry, 71, had not yet been sworn into the job and had no right to act as interim leader.

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Joseph, who was Moïse’s foreign minister, has claimed he was Haiti’s rightful interim leader following the assassination because he had been serving as acting prime minister before the late president named Henry, the Washington Post reported.

But on Monday, Joseph told the paper that he and Henry had met privately in the past week in an attempt to resolve the leadership dispute, and that he agreed Sunday to step down “for the good of the nation.”

“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not interested in this battle, or in any kind of power grab,” Joseph told the Washington Post. “The president was a friend to me. I am just interested in seeing justice for him.”

Henry released a recorded address Sunday night in which he repeated his claim to the prime minister’s job.

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SOURCE: New York Post, Yaron Steinbuch

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