Rajoelina names military officer Madagascar's new PM

11:07, December 22, 2009      

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Madagascar's transitional government president Andry Rajoelina has named Col. Albert Camille Vital prime minister to counter the offensives of the three rival political camps led by former rulers of the Indian Ocean island state.

The military officer, who was named on Sunday, comes from the south of Madagascar. Albert, 57, a native of Tulear, graduated in an ex-Soviet institution with a degree in civil-engineering. He was the president of Tulear's Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the owner of a local security firm before his latest appointment.

Between 1998 and 2001, he was the head of the Tulear's first military body called the regional military No. 5. He resigned from the position after his candidacy was rejected for the town council.

According to Midi, a local French newspaper, this new appointment has the objective of countering the actions of the three camps in the run-up to the legislative elections set for March 2010.

The newspaper also pointed out that the current ministers will continue serving in their positions until the formation of a new government.

The new prime minister already attended his first cabinet meeting on Sunday.

The Express, another French newspaper which was the first to reveal the appointment of Col. Albert, said the man had shown determination to lead his government and that he was ready to assume his responsibilities to preserve the national security and prepare for the legislative elections.

However, the rival camps contested the new appointment, saying this decision was illegal. In a joint statement, the three former presidents declared a transition led by Rajoelina and his team as illegal. They said they do not recognize his power.

The three camps vowed to go ahead with a lineup envisaged by the Maputo and Addis Ababa agreements, insisting on the installation of a consensus government and the holding of the preliminary meeting of the Superior Transitional Council, which is scheduled for Tuesday.

Tensions are escalating over the leadership of the transitional period and the sharing of government posts.

The four sides had previously agreed to form a transitional government leading to a presidential vote, before Rajoelina's leading role in the transition was strongly rejected by former president Marc Ravalomanana, who was ousted in March after months of anti-government turmoil considered as a coup.

The three camps which also include former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy have their own choices of government officials against the offer by Rajoelina. The appointment of the new premier came in the culmination of months of power struggle.

Source: Xinhua
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