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Coup leader Rajoelina rules out seeking Madagascar PM role


Andry Rajoelina, Madagascar’s former president and coup leader, announced on Friday that he would not seek to become prime minister, a decision that could ease political tensions in the country that have driven away investors and hurt the economy.


Rajoelina is at the heart of a power struggle that has stoked five years of turmoil in the nickel-producing Indian Ocean island.

In January, his ally Hery Rajaonarimampianina took over the presidency, promising to woo investors. Rajaonarimampianina was voted into office the month before in what were the country’s first presidential elections since a coup in early 2009.

Rajoelina had said he might seek to lead the new government, a position backed by his political coalition MAPAR, which holds a majority in parliament and whose full name translates as “Together With Andry Rajoelina”.

But he has now ruled himself out.

“After analysis, I decided not to hold the position of prime minister... this is the wisest decision,” Rajoelina told a news conference.

His withdrawal could help turn a page in Madagascar’s relations with investors, and end a political crisis that has sharply slowed economic growth.

The World Bank has said the next step of forming a government is crucial and that resumption of normal lending hinges on the appointment of a new prime minister.

Rajoelina, and the man he ousted in the coup, Marc Ravalomanana, were barred from standing in the presidential elections under the terms of a deal brokered by regional African states meant to end the political turmoil.

The World Bank expects Madagascar’s economy to grow by 3.7 percent this year, accelerating to 4 percent in 2015.


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