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Exiled Ravalomanana names 'legal' PM

Latest update : 2009-04-17

The exiled Malagasy president Marc Ravalomanana (pictured) named his 'legal' prime minister on Thursday in an attempt to regain some authority. Last month, Andry Rajoelina, with army backing, ousted Ravalomanana, who is exiled in Swaziland.

AFP - Madagascar's ousted president Marc Ravalomanana announced Thursday he had named a prime minister in a move to reaffirm his status as the country's legitimate leader.

The exiled Ravalomanana, who was forced out of office last month by the army-backed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, made the announcement by phone to some 15,000 supporters gathered for a rally in the capital.

"I have appointed Mr Manandafy Rakotonirina as prime minister. He is the legal prime minister," he said.

"We hope... that he will be able to fulfill his duties for the return of peace for the nation and for the well being of Madagascans."

Rakotonirina, who was present at Thursday's rally, is a veteran Madagascan politician who backed the ousted leader for president in 2002.

Ravalomanana termed his removal from office as coup and has been rallying international backing against Rajoelina who was sworn in as the Indian Ocean island's transitional leader.

Rajoelina, a former Antananarivo mayor, named a transitional authority with a prime minister.

The African Union and the regional grouping Southern Africa Development Community have suspended Madagascar from their groupings and called for a quick return to constitutional order.

Talks to end the country's months-old political crisis have floundered with the latest bid under the aegis of the AU and the United Nations suffering a set back and were adjourned last week after Ravalomanana's camp walked out.

Date created : 2009-04-17