Image of Haiti
Haiti's transitional council moves towards strengthening the country's institutions AFP

Haiti's transitional government council on Tuesday named a new prime minister to lead the violence-hit Caribbean nation, council members said, choosing Garry Conille, who briefly served in that role from 2011 to 2012.

A member of the council told AFP that Conille was chosen in a 6-1 vote Tuesday afternoon. Council president Edgard Leblanc and member Fritz Alphonse Jean also announced Conille's selection on social media.

The move comes as Haiti waits desperately for the deployment of a Kenyan-led multinational force tasked with wresting back control from powerful and violent gangs which control swaths of the capital.

The UN-backed security mission -- which the United States is providing with logistical support, but not boots on the ground -- is supposed to help Haiti's weak, outgunned police force defeat the gangs.

Armed groups, which also control large parts of the countryside, have long terrorized ordinary Haitians with random shootings, kidnappings and sexual violence.

The country has been wracked for decades by poverty, natural disasters, political instability and violence. It has had no president since the assassination of Jovenel Moise in 2021 and it has no sitting parliament.

The transitional council came to power last month as Haiti's unpopular and unelected prime minister Ariel Henry submitted his formal resignation after armed gangs rose up and demanded his ouster.

The last election was in 2016, and the transitional council has been struggling to assert its authority, with food running short, tens of thousands fleeing their homes and the health care system on the brink of collapse.

The main airport in Haiti partly reopened earlier this month after being closed since early March, when the gangs went on a coordinated rampage they said was aimed at toppling Henry.

The deployment of the Kenyan security force gained new urgency with the announcement last week that gang members killed three missionaries, a Haitian and an American couple.

One big question mark now is how the gangs will respond to the arrival of the Kenya-led force.

Haiti, a nation of 11.6 million people, has suffered from poverty, political instability and natural disasters for decades. It is the poorest country in the Americas.