By Laperozy Eric
The position taken by the current Madagascan transitional authority to keep both the presidency and the post of prime minister was rejected by the political forces led by three former presidents.
Representatives of Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy denounced the decision announced by Andry Rajoelina, president of the ruling High Transitional Authority, as retrogression from the accords signed early last month in Maputo, Mozambique.
In a national address on Friday evening, Rajoelina ordered Prime Minister Monja Roindefo to form a consensus government in 72 hours instead of giving up either his transitional presidency or the post of prime minister as it was agreed by the so-called big four at their first face-to-face talks in Maputo on Aug.-9.
On the last day set for the Madagascan stakeholders by the international mediators to make final decision on the power-sharing arrangement in the 15-month transition, Rajoelina said this was his final decision following his broad-based consultations with his political allies and regional leaders.
Shortly after the announcement, Ange Andrianarisoa, representative of the political camp led by Ratsiraka, who has been living in exile in France ever since Ravalomanana took over power from him in 2002, told the media that Rajoelina's declaration violated the agreements signed by the four politicians in Maputo.
Ratsiraka would not recognize the unilateral government Monja Roindefo might set next Monday, and had ordered members of his camp not to participate in it, he added.
"It is simply unacceptable," said Fetison Rakoto Andrianirina, representative of Ravalomanana, explaining that it was agreed in Maputo that everyone should make concessions, which could not be found in Rajoelina's national address.
Madagascar could not come out of the current crisis with such intransigence and a unilateral government and the economy would be affected more seriously, Andrianirina told the media Friday night.
At the last round of talks in Maputo last week, Ravalomanana totally rejected the motion to keep Rajoelina as head of the transition.
Owing to the failure to reach an agreement on the key transitional posts of president, vice president and prime minister, Ravalomanana's supporters have resumed their anti-Rajoelina demonstration since last weekend.
The spokesman of Zafy also denounced the Rajoelina's announcement as "a unilateral decision," which did not respect the management which he had agreed to set up a consensual, inclusive and neutral transition.
Emmanuel Rakotovahiny lashed out at the decision by the transitional authority, saying that it was an affront upon other politicians, who signed the transitional charter and other agreements in Maputo on Aug. 9.
Zafy had decided to refer the latest development in the island country to the international mediators from the United Nations, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the International Organization of French-speaking Countries, he disclosed.
In the context of the controversy over the key transitional posts, signs of political regrouping have emerged in the Indian Ocean island country.
Observers here said that Ratsiraka and Zafy, who supported Rajoelina to overthrew the regime led by Ravalomanana, might united, along with Ravalomanana, in an effort to topple the transitional authority led by Rajoelina, the former Antananarivo mayor.
Another decisive factor in the political crisis as well as in the transition was the armed forces, which have made it clear that they would observe neutrality in the partisan contention, though many of the senior armed force generals were appointed by Rajoelina before and after he replaced Ravalomanana as president of the country in March.
On a suggestion by Zafy for a military take-over of the transitional presidency and the prime minister, the armed forces and gendarmerie said in a statement on Friday that the tasks of the armed forces and the gendarmerie were to keep the national sovereignty rather than to take part in the political conflicts.