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Political turmoil roils Haiti

Police respond to a protest in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Sunday. Associated Press/Photo by Dieu Nalio Chery

Political turmoil roils Haiti

Opposition parties named one of Haiti’s top judges as the country’s interim leader late Sunday night. In a video statement, Judge Joseph Mecene Jean-Louis said he accepted the choice of civil society, but no one else has recognized his authority. Hours earlier, officials said they had foiled an attempt to assassinate President Jovenel Moïse, shaking public confidence in the government’s stability. Police arrested 23 people allegedly involved in the plot.

What’s behind the unrest? The country has had a turbulent political environment since 2018, a year after Moïse took office following a disputed election. He won a majority of votes in 2016, but only 21 percent of voters participated. Opposition parties denounced the election as fraudulent. Haiti’s constitution allows presidents to serve five-year terms. Moïse’s critics say his term began in 2016 and should therefore end this year. He claims his term did not begin until he took office in 2017, giving him one more year as the country’s leader.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read my report on protests against Moïse in 2019.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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