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Opposition claims to have taken power

Video by Cyril VANIER

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-03-14

The political situation in Madagascar was at a knife-edge Saturday, with the opposition claiming it has ousted President Marc Ravalomanana from power, says FRANCE 24’s Cyril Vanier reporting from Antananarivo.

Madagascar’s opposition declared it had ousted President Marc Ravalomanana from power Saturday as the political situation in the Indian Ocean island nation was on a knife-edge.

Reporting from Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo, FRANCE 24’s Cyril Vanier said residents of the city were glued to their radios as the opposition declared it was in power.

“The opposition is demanding that the constitutional courts oust the current president, Marc Ravalomanana, from power,” said Vanier. “They’re saying the new acting president is the opposition’s leader, the 34-year-old former mayor of the capital city, Andry Rajoelina.”

The opposition has announced it will hold a presidential election within two years.

The political crisis in Madagascar broke out late last year when a bitter power struggle between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina saw supporters taking to the streets, which led to deadly crackdowns. More than 130 people have been killed in the turmoil, crippling the picturesque island nation’s critical tourism industry.

Earlier this week, army chief Gen. Edmond Rasolofomahandry was ousted after warning the feuding political leaders that they had 72 hours to resolve their differences. He was replaced by a rebel soldier, Andre Andriarijaona.

Rasolofomahandry’s ouster followed a mutiny over the weekend by soldiers opposed to the government’s orders to crack down on opposition demonstrators.

In a statement read on Ravalomanana's private radio station Friday, the president called on Antananarivo residents in the capital to repel dissident troops.

Date created : 2009-03-14