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Haiti aims to get closer to having a full transitional government

A MARTÍNEZ, HOST:

This week, Haiti is supposed to get closer to having a full transitional government. The country, which has been in free fall with gangs controlling most of the capitol now has a transitional council, and it's getting ready to elect a president of that body. NPR's Eyder Peralta reports, and a warning - this story does contain the sound of gunshots.

EYDER PERALTA, BYLINE: The past few days have brought some much-needed signs of hope for Haiti. After more than a month of being shuttered, the Port-au-Prince airport received four flights full of American humanitarian aid and nonlethal equipment for the country's police. And last Thursday, a small group of leaders gathered secretly at the National Palace for a somber ceremony.

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PERALTA: Haiti's de facto Prime Minister Ariel Henry, who had been unable to return to his country for nearly two months, officially stepped down. The man who took his place, interim Prime Minister Michel Patrick Boisvert, called it an important day.

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PRIME MINISTER MICHEL PATRICK BOISVERT: (Non-English language spoken).

PERALTA: This day, in fact, he said, opens the prospect of a solution. Ever since President Jovenel Moise was assassinated in 2021, Haiti has felt rudderless. In an effort to seize power, gangs have attacked universities, hospitals and police stations. More than 1,000 people have been killed. And as the ceremony went on, the violence didn't stop. Indeed, just as the nine members of the transitional council took their oath, the gunfire crescendoed.

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PERALTA: The U.S. called the installation of the Council a quote, "critical step toward free and fair elections." But the council still has a tough road ahead, especially because the fractious political scene in Haiti is reflected in the Council's nine members who have already had a tough time coming to a consensus on even the rules of this transition. On Tuesday, they hope to elect a president of the council, and then at some later date, they will pick an interim prime minister and appoint members of a cabinet. The expectation is that when all of this is done, the international community could deploy a peacekeeping force. Eyder Peralta, NPR News, Mexico City.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.