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Madagascan parliament suspended
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09:31, March 20, 2009

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Madagascar's transitional government decided on Thursday to suspend the functioning of the two houses of the parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate.

It also confirmed 10 ministers of the transitional government, established by President Andry Rajoelina at a mass gathering earlier last month.

The decision was made at the first cabinet meeting of the transitional government, presided over by Rajoelina, who self-proclaimed president of the island country on Feb. 7 and was legalized by the High Constitutional Court (HCC) on Wednesday.

It was announced that the final composition of his government would be known this week.

Shortly after the cabinet meeting, Minister of Post and High Technology under the transitional government, Augustin Andriamananoro, told the media that 10 ministers appointed by Rajoelina were ratified under a decree signed by him.

Andy Rajoelina, the newly appointed Madagascar's president, speaks to reporters in front of the Presidential Palace in Antananarivo, capital of Madagascar, March 19, 2009. Madagascar's transitional government decided on March 19 to suspend the functioning of the two houses of the parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate

The new French ambassador Jean-Marc Chataigner paid a courtesy call to Rajoelina Thursday morning, during which they discussed the management of his transitional government as well as the strengthening of relationship between Madagascar and its former colonizer.

"Madagascar can never separate itself from France because we already have a common history. Therefore, we can never underestimate our relation with mother France," Rajoelina told the media soon after his meeting with the new ambassador.

Chataigner, who was received at the airport here upon his arrival by Rajoelina, is the first foreign diplomat met by Rajoelina since the HCC legalized his presidency a day earlier.

Relationship between Antananarivo and Paris had worsened since 2002, when ex-president Marc Ravalomanana came to power following a 6-month stalemate with his predecessor Didier Ratsiraka, who has been living in exile in France ever since.


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