Haiti’s Prime Minister Resigns As Council Sworn In To Lead Political Transition In Violence-Ravaged Nation

Ariel Henry announced his resignation in a statement on Thursday. (Julien Warnand/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock via CNN Newsource)

By Duarte Mendonca and Rob Picheta, CNN

(CNN) — Haiti’s Prime Minister Ariel Henry announced his resignation on Thursday, handing power over to a transitional council that will seek to gain control of the violence-ravaged nation.

Henry wrote in his resignation letter dated Wednesday that, “given the current state of affairs,” the time was right for him to step down. “We have served the nation in difficult times. I thank everyone who had the courage to face such challenges with me,” he said.

Haiti has been overrun by chaos and gang violence in recent weeks, with criminal groups attacking government structures and social order on the brink of collapse.

The Caribbean nation’s finance minister Michael Patrick Boisvert has been appointed as interim prime minister until a new government is formed, according to an X post from Henry’s office on Thursday.

A transitional council, composed of seven voting members and two non-voting observers, has been tasked with the responsibility of naming a new prime minister and cabinet. The committee will exercise certain presidential powers until a new president-elect is inaugurated, which must take place no later than February 7, 2026.

Henry announced in March his plans to step down once a decision on the country’s future leadership was made, and the transitional council was set up soon after.

The Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) welcomed the council’s formation in a statement earlier this month, hoping it would mark “a new beginning for Haiti.”

Since February, attacks by an insurgent alliance of gangs in the capital Port-au-Prince mean the city’s international airport and seaport have ceased to function, breaking vital supply lines of food and aid and triggering an exodus of evacuation flights for foreign nationals.

With the city virtually cut off from the outside world, hospitals have been vandalized while warehouses and containers storing food and essential supplies have been broken into as the social fabric frays.

According to the United Nations, nearly 5 million people in Haiti are suffering from acute food insecurity – defined as when a person’s inability to consume adequate food poses immediate danger to their lives or livelihoods.

“This is the worst humanitarian crisis in Haiti since the 2010 earthquake. I don’t think that’s sunk in,” Jean-Martin Bauer, the World Food Programme’s country director for Haiti, told CNN last month.

The UN human rights office meanwhile described sexual violence in Haiti as “severely underreported and largely unpunished,” in a harrowing report that documented cases of rape and forced sexual relations with gang members, as well surging levels of gang violence in the country.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.