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Haiti formalizes transitional council in move toward new elections

Haiti has formalized a new presidential transitional council that will help to move the embattled nation toward peace after the Caribbean island has been consumed by gang violence and left with almost no government.

A decree was published Friday establishing the new nine-member council in Le Moniteur, the official gazette of the Haitian government, according to local Haitian outlets. The decree states a goal of securing peace in the country and moving toward elections, with the formation of various governmental bodies to achieve those aims.

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization made up of regional nations, welcomed the arrival of the new council as the “possibility of a new beginning for Haiti.”

“CARICOM has supported Haiti, its sister nation, through the challenging process of arriving at a Haitian owned formula for governance that will take the troubled country through elections to the restoration of the lapsed state institutions and constitutional government,” the group said in a statement.

Haiti plunged into violence after the 2021 assassination of – Haitian President Jovenel Moïse, and gang violence has grown particularly rampant in the past year.

Gangs have run amok in the capitol of Port-au-Prince, pushing the island nation into a humanitarian crisis that the United Nations and aid groups say is teetering on the brink of a complete collapse.

The violence and demands from gang leaders forced Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry to step down last month. The U.S., U.N. and CARICOM want to restore order with a Kenyan-led police force, but Kenya paused its deployment in the wake of Henry’s resignation because there was no official government to work with.

The transitional council is viewed by regional countries as a step toward securing peace in Haiti.

In the decree shared by Haitian outlets, officials said Haiti must hold elections by February 2026. Haiti has not had an election since 2016 and has been without a president since 2021.

The decree also outlines steps toward constitutional and election reform and economic recovery.

CARICOM said the first priority for the new council will be to “address the security situation so that Haitians can go about their daily lives in a normal manner” and get access to food, water and other critical services.

“There are still daunting challenges ahead,” the organization said in the statement. “CARICOM stands ready to continue to support the Haitian people and their leaders as they determine their future in a sovereign manner through this transitional period on the path to stability, security and long-term sustainable development for Haiti.”

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