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Africa

Ravalomanana steps down, opposition claims victory

©

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-03-17

The Malagasy president has handed over power to the army after a three-month stand-off with the opposition. Former Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina (pictured) claims victory but rejects the conditions set by the outgoing president.

Madagascar’s beleaguered President Marc Ravolamanana has stepped down and handed over “full powers” to a military board, according to an official press release.

 

Navy admiral Hyppolite Ramaroson, “the highest-ranked military official”, has become the head of state, according to the press release.

  

However, the opposition leader Andry Rajoelina has questioned the legitimacy of the military board. Earlier 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 new army chief of staff Colonel André Andriarijaona also rejected the decision of the former president and denounced “another ploy by Mr Ravalomanana.”

 

 

The former president sought refuge, on Sunday, in another presidential palace in Iavoloha, some 10 km from Antananarivo. His present whereabouts is unknown, as his spokesperson says he left the palace for an unknown location.

 

“Rumors abound about Ravalomanana’s present whereabouts,” says FRANCE 24’s Virginie Herz in Madagascar. “We don’t know where he is.”

 

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

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