President fires newly appointed prime minister

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina has fired his prime minister, who had been named in October after lengthy power-sharing talks with opposition forces, in a move that threatens to plunge the country back into crisis.


AFP - Madagascar's strongman ruler Andry Rajoelina named a new prime minister for the island on Friday as leaders of the three main opposition movements flew back to Antananarivo.

Rajoelina released a decree saying Cecile Manorohanta, currently deputy prime minister in charge of interior affairs, would be prime minister and head of a new transitional government.

A separate decree cancelled the nomination of Eugene Mangalaza as PM -- which had been agreed by Madagascar's political groupings in an October power-sharing agreement.

Manorohanta's appointment came as opposition leaders were allowed to return to the troubled Indian Ocean island after holding talks in Mozambique under international mediation.

Rajoelina had blocked their return, scheduled for Tuesday, in apparent retaliation for holding the talks without him.

The leaders of opposition movements representing ousted president Marc Ravalomanana as well as former president Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka, were greeted at the airport Friday by hundreds of supporters, an AFP correspondent reported.

Rajoelina had accused the three opposition movements of seeking to remove him from power by violating previous power-sharing agreements.

The 35-year-old former disc jockey, who toppled Ravalomanana with the army's backing on March 17, announced this week that he was planning to stage parliamentary elections in March 2010.


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