The new Haitian government has taken office this Wednesday, with a call for political “truce,” although the opposition has already expressed skepticism over the unilateral decision taken this week by President Jovenel Moise.
The new Prime Minister, Joseph Jouthe, will share a cabinet with 15 ministers, including eight who had already been appointed to failed previous administrations. Jouthe, who was already Minister of Economy, will also be responsible for Planning and Foreign Cooperation.
Moise chose Jouthe to try to overcome the current political crisis, about to mark the first anniversary of the interim government. “The political leaders in power and in the opposition are friends. I call the truce,” said the new head of government during the ceremony, held at the National Palace.
“I don’t want disorder in the country,” Jouthe added, tending a glove that other political leaders have not yet collected. According to the newspaper ‘Le Nouvelliste’, the opposition has reiterated its criticism against Moise, who has been criticized for taking unilateral steps and without seeking prior consensus with the various forces.
Moise has argued that Joseph’s choice “is not the result of chance.” “His experience in public administration and his experience in different fields make him a reference personality,” said the president in his social networks, from which he thanked his work to the outgoing Prime Minister, Jean Michel Lapin.
Moise has described the new ministers as “soldiers who go to war,” against hunger, insecurity, corruption and social injustice. From them he has expected “exemplarity” and “irreproachable behavior”, aware of the criticisms that are still latent at street level.
Haitians began demonstrating in July 2018 over the increase in the price of fuel, but since then the protests have evolved amid accusations of corruption against Moise, even demanding his resignation. The tension became evident at the end of February, with a confrontation between police and military that resulted in at least two deaths.
The protests have come to paralyze the small country, which is also in a delicate economic and humanitarian situation – according to the UN, one third of Haitians suffer from food insecurity – and security because of the growing weight of the gangs. The situation threatens to get worse this year, as the UN expects to have 4.2 million people with food needs.