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Madagascar opposition wants army to head transition
Posted on Thursday, September 03, 2009 @ 18:34:53 CDT by kwpnews

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By Richard Lough

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's opposition said on Thursday the military should take the top three posts in a power-sharing government after they failed to reach an agreement with the current leader on who should have control.



Andry Rajoelina, a 35-year-old former DJ who ousted former leader Marc Ravalomanana with the aid a dissident army faction in a March coup, has until now remained steadfast in demanding his party retains the presidency and post of prime minister.

"When it comes to the deadlock surrounding the three key posts of president, vice-president and prime minister, the military should take their responsibilities," former president Albert Zafy told reporters.

"This is for us the solution to resolving this crisis," he said on behalf of the three opposition movements.

Rajoelina headed weeks of street protests earlier this year and seized power in a country that is increasingly eyed by foreign investors for its oil and minerals.

The international community has widely condemned his ascent to power, suspended some aid and called for a unity government to be set up under the terms of a deal struck last month in Mozambique.

A close ally of Zafy said if Rajoelina accepted the proposal then the four movements involved in the negotiations -- headed by Rajoelina, Ravalomanana, Zafy and former president Didier Ratsiraka -- would nominate the military personnel.

"If Rajoelina refuses, then we will call on the military to chose," said Zafy ally Emmanuel Rakotovahiny.

UNITED ARMY?

Madagascar's army chief denied allegations the military was divided in its loyalties and said it would meet on Friday to discuss the idea.

"It would deepen the crisis if there were differences within the army on how to proceed," Colonel Andre Ndriarijaona told Reuters.

Zafy said he believed the army wielded enough influence to persuade Rajoelina to accept.

"The military will be able to impose their point of view because it was not Rajoelina who won power form Ravalomanana but the armed forces who gave him the power," he said.

There was no reason not to consider a government comprised of civilians and military personnel, Zafy said.

Last month, a second round of crisis talks in Maputo collapsed after Rajoelina said he needed more time to consult his backers, including the military, on whether he should concede his demand to retain the office of prime minister.

Some say the Rajoelina camp is becoming increasingly divided on the issue as supporters of his prime minister, Roindefo Monja, insist the partnership remains intact.

Mediators, led by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, expect Rajoelina to confirm by Friday whether he will make any concessions.

The former mayor of Antananarivo, who on Thursday told a 2,000-strong crowd he would not bow to international pressure, said he would make a "strong decision" before the deadline.

The African Union's special envoy to Madagascar, Ablasse Ouedraogo, declined to comment but said he hoped to bring all the delegations together on Friday.

 


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