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Rival parties agree to top posts in interim government

Madagascar’s rival political parties have reached an agreement on the three top positions in a transitional government, according to their delegations. Andry Rajoelina, who in March toppled President Marc Ravalomanana, will remain president.

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AFP - Madagascar's political rivals reached an agreement Tuesday on a transitional government after talks with international mediators, according to their delegations.

The island's leader Andry Rajoelina, who in March toppled president Marc Ravalomanana, will continue to head the transitional government.

The interim prime minister will be Eugene Mangalaza, a heavyweight in the party of deposed president Didier Ratsiraka, who was ousted himself by Ravalomanana, a spokesman for Ratsiraka's faction said.

Mangalaza, an historian, has great diplomatic skills and brokered talks between former president Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana who ousted him and then took power in a controversial election.

Deposed leader Ravalomanana however forced a condition that interim leader Rajoelina, who threw him out with the army's backing, would not be a candidate in a future election, the spokesman said.

The Indian Ocean island has been mired in a political crisis since early this year following months of anti-government protests that culminated when Rajoelina toppled his rival on March 17 with the army's backing.

The talks include delegations from the four political groups of Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and former presidents Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy and international mediators.

In addition to African Union commission chief Jean Ping, the International Contact Group is made up of former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano and representatives from the United Nations, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, the Indian Ocean Commission, the European Union, France and the United States.

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