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Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry resigned, following national and international pressure to step down as armed gangs have tightened their grip in the Caribbean country’s capital Port-au-Prince and are threatening civil war, the Washington Post reported.

The embattled prime minister announced late Monday that he would relinquish power immediately following the establishment of a transitional presidential council and the selection of a new interim leader.

Henry is currently stuck in Puerto Rico following a trip to Kenya to promote a United Nations-backed police force to help Haiti’s dangerous security situation. He has been unable to return to Haiti because armed criminal gangs have launched attacks on airports and police stations in Port-au-Prince, saying they will continue until the prime minister resigns.

Henry’s announcement comes after negotiations led by Caribbean Community (Caricom) leaders, alongside representatives from the United States and the UN to resolve the years-long political crisis in the country.

The agreement aims to facilitate a peaceful transition of power and pave the way for free and fair elections, according to Guyanese President Irfaan Ali, the regional bloc’s chairman.

Haiti has been grappling with political and security crises following the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse and more recently, the absence of a functioning legislature. Henry was appointed shortly before Moïse’s death and initially had international backing to govern the island nation amid promises to hold new elections.

But as Haiti’s situation continued to deteriorate and he failed to hold new polls, he started facing pressure from the international community – including the US and Caricom – to resign and facilitate a transition of power to a new interim government.

The new transitional council will be comprised of seven voting members, and two non-voting ones representing civil society and the faith community.

Individuals under indictment, UN sanctions, or with criminal convictions will be barred from participating – that includes prominent figures such as powerful gang leader Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier and former rebel leader Guy Philippe.

While the creation of the transitional council and the timeline for elections remain unclear, Haitians expressed a mixture of relief and anxiety, being uncertain about the impact of Henry’s resignation on the country’s future trajectory amid its ongoing challenges.

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