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Africa

Leaders to resume talks on appointing transition government

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-25

Madagascar's power-brokers will resume talks Tuesday to appoint a transition government to lead a return to constitutional rule. The international community has ostracized the island since Andry Rajoelina (pictured) seized power in March.

AFP - Madagascar's power-brokers will resume talks in Mozambique on Tuesday with the delicate task of appointing a transitional government to lead the Indian Ocean island's return to constitutional rule.
  
Madagascar was thrown into crisis in March when Andry Rajoelina, former mayor of capital Antananarivo, overthrew president Marc Ravalomanana with military backing following weeks of violent street protests.
  
The international community has ostracized Madagascar since the ouster, isolating the country diplomatically and cutting off aid.
  
The rival leaders, together with ex-presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, met in the Mozambican capital Maputo earlier this month to seek an end to the crisis, signing an agreement on August 9 to establish a transitional government and hold democratic elections by the end of 2010.
  
But the leaders left the last round of talks without picking a transitional president or dividing up the posts in the new government.
  
This week's talks, dubbed "Maputo II", will bring the four leaders together again to appoint an interim president and prime minister and distribute key ministries in the transitional authority.
  
Ousted president Ravalomanana, in exile in South Africa since his overthrow, has promised not to seek a direct role in the interim government.
  
But sources close to the mediation say tension may still run high as the leaders jockey for position.
  
Rajoelina, the country's current leader, declared on national television after returning from the last round of talks that only he could be the transitional president.
  
"One can't imagine that it could be anyone else that would lead the transition," he said.
  
The Southern African Development Community (SADC), the regional bloc organising the talks, downplayed the possibility of power grabs derailing this week's meetings.
  
"The important thing is not what is best for Rajoelina or what is best for Ravalomanana, the important thing is what is best for Madagascar," said SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao.
  
But the mediation team, which is led by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, still face a delicate task.
  
"We are going to have some very hard meetings," said Edem Kodjo, mediator for the International Organisation of the Francophony, the union of French-speaking countries.
  
Under the August 9 agreement, no member of the transitional government except its president will be eligible to run in the 2010 presidential election.
  
This week's talks are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday. Under the terms of the transition agreement, the four leaders must name an interim government by September 8.

Date created : 2009-08-25

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