Haiti's Senate has appointed Speaker Joseph Lambert as interim president following the assassination of Jovenel Moïse and denied Acting Prime Minister Claude Joseph was in charge of the country, despite endorsement from the United States and the United Nations.
According to eight of Haiti's ten Senators, Joseph had been dismissed from his post last Monday, in the last decree signed by Moïse before his assassination on Wednesday.
Lambert will thus become head of state until February 7, 2022, the date on which Moïse's mandate ends, and his first task will be to form “a government of national entente” with the mission of organizing the elections.
The new president is to form an electoral council to call for new elections later this month.
Restoring security and holding credible elections in the shortest reasonable time are the two priorities of the Provisional Government, the Senate resolution states.
The document adds that Joseph cannot exercise the functions of prime minister since last Monday when President Moïse appointed Ariel Henry to that position by decree, but the latter was not invested before the death of the president.
After the assassination, Joseph took charge of the Government, supported by the Police and the Army, and has received the explicit support of the UN, the United States and other countries to carry out these functions.
The interim prime minister has assured that he intends to maintain the electoral calendar planned before Moïse's, which includes the holding of presidential and legislative elections, as well as a referendum to approve a new Constitution, on September 26.
The Senate is the only body in the country that has elected positions, but since January 2020 this legislative body has not been empowered to make decisions due to lack of quorum.
The House of Deputies and two-thirds of the Senate should have been renewed in 2019, but the elections were postponed due to political instability, which led to the closure of the legislature.
Haiti has asked the United States and the UN to send troops to protect its ports, airport and other strategic sites after the assassination.
Joseph has been recognized internationally as the person in charge of the country, in accordance with the Haitian constitution which mandates that in the event that the President of the Republic can no longer exercise his functions, the Council of Ministers, under orders of the prime minister, they will exercise the Executive Power until new elections.