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Former Madagascan president appoints new prime minister
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09:24, April 17, 2009

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Former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana appointed on Thursday a new prime minister and asked him to set up a consensus government.

Ravalomanana told his supporters through telephone from Swaziland that he had appointed Rakotonirina Manandafy, leader of the Movement for the Progress of Madagascar (MFM), to be his new prime minister, the private Antsiva Radio reported Thursday evening.

MFM, founded by Manandafy in 1972, has been a political ally of the former ruling I Love Madagascar party led by Ravalomanana and one of few political parties which supported Ravalomanana in the current political crisis that began last December.

Manandafy, 71, was a technical advisor of Ravalomanana soon after Ravalomanana came to power in 2002 but gave up his job before the last presidential election in December 2006 and came out to be a presidential candidate to compete with Ravalomanana.

Antsiva quoted Ravalomanana as telling his supporters that he was confident that peace and order would restore upon his return.

The radio said that companied with Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tomaz Salomao and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Swaziland Lutfo Dlamini, Ravalomanana would be back to his country soon.

Ravalomanana fled out of the island country on March 25, four days after his political rival Andry Rajoelina officially replaced him as President of the country.

Ravalomanana said that Manandafy was agreed by international community to be his prime minister and he planned to establish a national committee before the end of this year.

Ravalomanana urged Manandafy to establish a consensus government as soon as possible and occupy the prime minister palace, Andafiavaratra, during the royal regime before Madagascar fell into French colony in 1896.

Soon after his appointment, Manandafy asked representatives of International community, civil societies and businessmen to come to Andafiavaratra for his first meeting soon.

Ravalomanana said on Wednesday in Swaziland that he was willingto share the power with his rival Rajoelina, who was legalized by the High Constitutional Court as President of the High Transitional Authority on March 18.

Rajoelina, who won over a candidate from the ruling I Love Madagascar party in a regional election at the end of 2007 to be mayor of the capital city, proclaimed leader of the country on Feb.7.

Ravalomanana handed over his presidency to a military committee on March 17 before leaving his office on the same day but hours later, the military top brass transferred the presidency to Rajoelina.

The power transfer in Madagascar was denounced as unconstitutional and a coup by the international community, including the African Union, the SADC and the European Union.

The scheduled African Union summit here in July this year and Francophonie summit next year were cancelled due to the political crisis in Madagascar.


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