Haiti Names New Prime Minister to Try to Lead Country Out of Crisis

An experienced international aid official, Garry Conille, was unanimously appointed prime minister of Haiti by a Presidential Transition Council on Tuesday, which tasked him with leading the country out of its current crisis until elections for a new president can be held.

Mr. Conille will take on his new role just as a U.N.-backed security mission led by Kenyan police is scheduled to begin operations in the violence-torn Caribbean nation, which is battling to restore political stability and tackle armed gangs who control large parts of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Fluent in English, French and Creole, Mr. Conille’s credentials include a 25-year career working for the United Nations and other aid agencies. He also briefly led Haiti as prime minister over a decade ago during another period of crisis following the devastating 2010 earthquake.

But Mr. Conille has spent many of the last few years outside the country, and his perhaps rusty domestic political skills are sure to be tested by the highly volatile situation he will encounter as prime minister.

He will not, however, have to face any political battles with Haiti’s fractious Parliament, which has sat vacant for months because of the country’s inability to hold elections amid the violence and turmoil.

“He is a safe choice to appease the international community, but he’s also spent the last two decades working mostly outside Haiti in the U.N. system,” said Jake Johnston, a Haiti expert at the Center for Economic and Policy Research.

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