Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Southern African leaders reject Madagascar government
ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's Prime Minister Monja Roindefo named a new government on Tuesday but Southern African leaders and the opposition refused to recognise it on the grounds it flouted a power-sharing deal.
The Indian Ocean island rich in oil and minerals has been rocked by turmoil since Andry Rajoelina toppled former leader Marc Ravalomanana from power in a March coup, scaring tourists and hurting the economy.
Under the terms of the deal agreed last month in Mozambique, the country's power-brokers were supposed to share out the top posts of president, vice president and prime minister to see the world's fourth largest island through to presidential polls.
But with the rivals still deadlocked, Roindefo pressed ahead and made 31 appointments in all, keeping himself and Rajoelina in the posts of prime minister and president.
Joaquim Chissano, Mozambique's former president who is mediating in the island's crisis, said Southern African leaders meeting in Democratic Republic of Congo on Tuesday had rejected "the unilateral decision taken in Madagascar".
"We will continue to negotiate to find a consensual solution. The current (Southern African Development Community) suspension will remain in place until they find a consensual and inclusive solution to the problem," he said.
Analysts said the government was unlikely to end the crisis, even if the balance of power currently lay with Rajoelina.
"Everybody agrees there must be negotiations as neither side can really go forward without the other. Rajoelina needs the donors back and the opposition wants to be back (in power), said Lille-based political risk consultant Lydie Boka.
"IT IS FOR EVERYONE"
Roindefo defended the new government, which included several people until recently closely associated with Ravalomanana.
"The new government is not for one party alone. It is for everyone. For me, all four movements are represented," he said in a televised statement.
Rajemison Rakotomahro and Jacques Sylla, former heads of the upper and lower houses of parliament respectively during the Ravalomanana era, took up the posts of the transition's vice president and president of the transition's congress.
Allies of former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy were also allocated senior positions.
But the opposition also said Rajoelina and Roindefo had acted unilaterally, breaking the power-sharing agreement signed last month by Rajoelina and the three former presidents.
"I vigorously contest the creation of this government that has been decided upon unilaterally," Ravalomanana told supporters in central Antananarivo by telephone from exile.
Rajoelina said his government would work towards establishing a fourth republic ahead of presidential elections.
"The objective is the organisation of free and transparent elections," he told reporters without specifying a date. August's power-share deal set a 15 month deadline.
The opposition parties said they would soon meet and suggested they would establish a parallel government.
"The three movements will meet to put in place the institutions agreed under the Maputo agreement," Yves Rakotoarison, a former member of parliament from Ravalomanana's party, told supporters.