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Haiti's interim leader to step down amid power struggle after assassination of president

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Port-au-Prince — Haiti's interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph, who has run the country following the assassination of president Jovenel Moise, will step down and a new government will be formed with Ariel Henry as prime minister, an official said Monday. Elections Minister Mathias Pierre confirmed the news, which was first reported by The Washington Post, to The Associated Press on Monday.

The new government will not have a president, and will be tasked with organizing fresh elections "as soon as possible," said the government official, who is close to the prime minister's office.

Haiti's interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph (C) attends a press conference in Port-au Prince on July 11, 2021. VALERIE BAERISWYL/AFP/Getty

Moise had tapped Henry to replace Joseph as prime minister in the days before the president was shot dead in his home in Port-au-Prince in the early hours of July 7.

But in the hours after the assassination Joseph declared a "state of siege" and said he was in charge, launching a power tussle in the violence-wracked, impoverished Caribbean nation.

Haiti also had no working parliament and no workable succession process, and was already mired deep in a political and security crisis when Moise was killed.

"For several days, Claude Joseph and Ariel Henry have been holding a number of working meetings that will lead to the formation of an inclusive government with Ariel Henry as Prime Minister," said the official.

Joseph will return to his former post as foreign minister in the new government, which will be installed on Tuesday, the official said.

"There will be no president of the Republic. The mission of this new government will be to organize general elections as soon as possible," the official added.

How Haiti can move forward after assassination of president 06:27

Moise had ruled Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, by decree after legislative elections due in 2018 were delayed in the wake of disputes, including on when his own term ended.

As well as presidential, legislative and local elections, Haiti had been due to have a constitutional referendum in September after it was twice postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The official did not give a timeline Monday for when new elections would be held.

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