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Africa

Rajoelina appointed president by constitutional court

Video by Regane RANUCCI , Rachel MARUSAK

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2009-03-19

Madagascar's constitutional court has declared Andry Rajoelina the country's new president after his arch rival, now ex-president Marc Ravalomanana, was swept from office by the army at the end of a months-long, deadly power struggle.

Madagascar’s Constitutional Court has declared Andry Rajoelina the country's new president after his arch rival, now ex-president Marc Ravalomanana, was swept from office by the army at the end of a months-long, deadly power struggle.

 

New president Andry Rajoelina celebrated his rise to power on Wednesday in the streets of Antananarivo after the country’s constitutional court confirmed him as acting president. On Tuesday, the crisis in Madagascar came to a head as former President Marc Ravalomanana stepped down and transferred his power to the army.

“The people of Madagascar woke up to a new political reality,” said FRANCE 24’s Cyril Vanier in the capital Antananarivo. “Yesterday, the sequence of events went very quickly. Just after the opposition leader Rajoelina proclaimed himself president, the former president Ravalomanana resigned.”

 

 

On Wednesday, the new president, a former music DJ, gave his first speech as head of state in front of 15,000 supporters in Antananarivo and pledged to tackle severe poverty in Madagascar.

 

“I will do everything I can to ensure that Madagascans are lifted out of poverty,” he said. Rajoelina promised to bring food prices down on the island, where three-quarters of the population live on less than two dollars a day.

 

In a first move, Rajoelina told reporters he was cancelling a deal with South Korea’s Daewoo logistics to lease one million hectares in Madagascar. The lease plan – announced last year – had fuelled anger against the former president.

 

Francis Soler, chief editor of the Lettre de l’Ocean Indien, told FRANCE 24 that running the state will not be an easy task for Rajoelina.

 

“One of the current problems is how civilians who supported Rajoelina’s rise to power will cohabit with the soldiers who also supported him and finally swept him to power,” said Soler. “Without them the status quo could have lasted for a long time.”

 

Rajoelina will be formally sworn in on Saturday and has two years to prepare fresh elections, a period deemed too long by former colonial power France.

 

Zambia called for Madagascar's suspension from the African Union (AU). The AU's peace and security council is scheduled to discuss the situation in Madagascar at a meeting at its Addis Ababa headquarters on Thursday.

 

The former president, Ravalomanana, resigned on Tuesday after most of the military backed his rival, who had led weeks of protests against him. The unrest killed at least 135 people.

Date created : 2009-03-18

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