Haiti swears in a new president after nearly two years of political crisis

Jovenel Moïse became Haiti's 58th president Tuesday during a brief ceremony at the Haitian parliament.

The ceremony wasn't without glitches. Journalists, kept behind a glass partition that cut them off from much of the sound of the ceremony, began banging on the glass until they were allowed onto the floor. Then interim President Jocelerme Privert and his wife entered, followed by Moïse and the new first lady, Marie Martine Moïse.

Also present were former President Michel Martelly and his wife, Sophia. Martelly had picked Moïse, an unknown banana farmer and auto parts dealer, to succeed him as president.

Four senators and several deputies boycotted the event. The senators had said they would not attend the inauguration until a money-laundering investigation against Moïse had been resolved. Late Monday, government prosecutor Danton Léger ordered an investigative judge looking into the probe to launch a complementary investigation by interviewing the first lady and three others.

The suspicions could threaten Moïse's presidency as he attempts to return Haiti to stability after a nearly two-year political crisis.

Haiti faces many challenges including the imminent departure of U. N. peacekeepers after 12 years, a cholera outbreak and deep unemployment.

“The Haitian people are ready to assume their responsibility with the Haiti National Police and Haitian army,” Senate President Youri Latortue said.

Latortue led the swearing in, telling Moïse that the Haitian parliament stands ready to work with him.

“You are the president of all Haitians, regardless of their political family or ideology,” he said.

After reading a long list of the responsibilities facing the new president — from creating jobs to managing risks from natural disasters — Latortue told him, “all are a priority.”