Madagascar's army has handed over power to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina during a ceremony attended by journalists, following President Marc Ravalomanana's decision to step down.
Madagascar's military chiefs formally endorsed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina as president of a transition authority on Tuesday. This follows former Malagasy president Marc Ravalomanana’s resignation earlier in the day.
"We give full powers to Mr Andry Rajoelina to become president of the high transitional authority," Vice-Admiral Hyppolite Ramaroson told reporters at a military camp in the capital.
According to FRANCE 24 special correspondent Cyril Vanier in Antananarivo, “There is no longer anything standing in the way of the opposition leader becoming president.”
Vanier explained, “When former president Ravalomanana resigned, instead of simply resigning, he transferred power to the military officers still loyal to him.”
According to Virginie Herz, another FRANCE 24 correspondent in Antananarivo, the military explained that this transfer occurred “without force.” However, said Vanier, members of the military loyal to Rajoelina arrested Vice-Admiral Ramaroson and other generals to whom Ravalomanana had given power.”
Early on Tuesday, the former mayor of Antananarivo staged a triumphant entrance at the presidential palace in the centre of the Malagasy capital as crowds of supporters hailed his arrival.
The bitter power struggle between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina has led to days of street protests in the past three months, killing more than 130 people.
What of the ousted president?
The former president sought refuge, on Sunday, in another presidential palace in Iavoloha, some 10km from Antananarivo. His present whereabouts are unknown, as his spokesman says he left the palace for an unknown location.
On Tuesday, the African Union demanded the security of former president Marc Ravalomanana be guaranteed after his resignation.
"We have launched an appeal for law and order to prevail in Madagascar, we have also called for President Ravalomanana's security to be guaranteed, as well as that of his relatives and his entourage," Bruno Nongoma Zidouemba said.
Date created : 2009-03-17