Madagascar's army-backed opposition has taken control of the country's seat of power. A presidential aide confirmed to the press that embattled President Marc Ravalomanana has handed power to a military board.
Madagascar’s beleaguered President Marc Ravolamanana yielded power on Tuesday.
Diplomatic sources told AFP that power had been passed over to a “military board”, while the president’s spokesperson Andry Ralijaona said power had been handed over to navy admiral Hyppolite Ramaroson.
He added that Ravalomanana had left the presidential palace in the outskirts of Antananarivo for an undisclosed location.
Officials from the opposition declared their leader Andry Rajoelina to be the head of the transitional authority. Opposition officials, speaking at a ceremony when Rajoelina entered outgoing leader Marc Ravalomanana's offices, said elections would be organised within 24 months and the constitution would be re-written to create a "Fourth Republic."
“It is possible that the military will hand over power to the opposition’s 'higher transition authority', FRANCE 24 special correspondent Virginie Herz said in Antananarivo.
Andry Rajoelina, the 34-year-old sacked mayor of Antananarivo, claimed himself the country’s de-facto leader and was cheered by thousands of supporters as he entered the deserted presidency palace in the capital minutes earlier on Monday.
"I solemnly declare that I will not spare any effort," he said, declaring that the transitional authority he set up last month was in charge of the country's affairs. "We are now free but the road ahead remains rough," he added.
“Rajoelina is surrounded by hoards of soldiers, journalists and religious leaders,” FRANCE 24 special correspondent Cyril Vanier reported from inside the presidential offices. “He is expected to address the people shortly,” he added.
The bitter power struggle between President Ravalomanana and Rajoelina has led to several days of street protests in the past three months, killing more than 130 people.
Date created : 2009-03-17