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Madagascan President calls for participation in national consultation
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08:46, March 13, 2009

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Madagascan President Marc Ravalomanana called all parties on Thursday to participate in the three-day national consultation planned to begin the same day.

The besieged president told a government council meeting here Thursday morning that he still considered Mamy Solofoniaina Ranaivoniarivo as Defense Minister though he handed over his letter of resignation two days earlier.

Saying that his priority was to restore social peace and security, Ravalomanana asked the people and the police to join hands for such a peace mission.

On the revoke of the armed forces earlier this week, Ravalomanana said that "the mission of the armed forces is to work for the people, to defend dignity and legality" of the island country.

The opposition led by the sacked Antananarivo major Andry Rajoelina announced a boycott on Wednesday of the national consultation meeting, organized by the influential Christian Council of Churches in Madagascar.

Shortly after the opposition announcement, the Christian council chairman Odon Razanakolona said that the scheduled meeting was postponed infinitely.

The opposition insisted on resignation of President Ravalomanana as a precondition for a peaceful solution to the current political crisis, which began last December.


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