The body exercises special presidential powers until the inauguration of a new elected president, the decree continues. The inauguration must take place by February 7, 2026 at the latest. The Transitional Council will consist of seven voting members from across Haiti’s political spectrum and two non-voting observers.

But it is unclear whether the interim council will be able to assert its authority over the gangs that control much of the capital, Port-au-Prince. It was initially not known whether the gangs would agree to withdraw.

No elections have been held in Haiti since 2016, and the Caribbean state has been without a president since the murder of Jovenel Moise in 2021. Haiti is suffering from a massive wave of gang violence, and the humanitarian situation in the impoverished Caribbean country has noticeably worsened in recent weeks. Criminal gangs now control large parts of the country and around 80 percent of the capital. They are accused of numerous crimes such as murder, rape and ransom extortion.

The situation in the country worsened at the end of February during Prime Minister Ariel Henry’s trip abroad. Armed gang members attacked police stations and freed thousands of prisoners from prisons. They called for the resignation of Henry, who has been in power since 2021 and who should actually have left the office of Prime Minister at the beginning of February.

After pressure from the United States and the region, Henry agreed to resign. The decree stipulates that Henry will formally resign after the appointment of a new prime minister.

The official formation of the Transitional Council elicited positive reactions. The Caribbean alliance Caricom, which has played an important role in the transitional council, said this shows “the possibility of a new beginning for Haiti.” A US State Department spokesman said “these developments are a positive step toward restoring security, paving the way for free and fair elections, and restoring democracy and inclusive governance in Haiti.”

The UN office in Haiti said it would continue to closely monitor the political process in Haiti. “International support for the Haitian police to restore security and the rule of law” remains “essential”.