MADAGASCAR: PRIME MINISTER OF “CONSENSUS” TO EMERGE FROM CRISIS

The Malagasy President Hery Rajaonarimampianina has appointed Prime Minister on Monday a senior international official, Christian Ntsay, who will be responsible for forming a government of “consensus” to try to get the country out of the political crisis.

“I appointed Prime Minister Christian Ntsay, an experienced man with skills for appeasement,” Rajaonarimampianina told reporters.

The appointment comes just hours after mid-day resignation of the previous head of government, Olivier Mahafaly Solonandrasana, who has been in office for two years.

The island of Madagascar has been shaken for a month and a half by a wave of daily demonstrations of the opposition that demand the departure of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, in power since 2013, accused of wanting to silence his rivals a few months from the next general election.

In an attempt to break the stalemate, the High Constitutional Court (HCC), the country’s highest judicial body, ordered the appointment of a new Prime Minister and a national unity government ten days ago.

Mahafaly Solonandrasana executed on Monday by resigning himself and his team.

“As a statesman, I will not present myself as an obstacle to the life of the nation,” he told reporters before meeting with the head of state. I have nothing to regret today and I can go head high (…) I tell you + It’s only a goodbye + “, he added, sibylline.

 

– ‘Political Arrangement’ –

His successor, Christian Ntsay, 57 years old, held until now a senior civil servant position at the International Labor Organization (ILO). He served as Minister of Labor from 2002 to 2003, but was not member of none of the three main parties of the country.

Mr. Ntsay now has the difficult task of forming a union cabinet whose composition reflects the results of the 2013 parliamentary elections, as imposed by the Constitutional High Court in its decision.

This demand has fueled for several days a heated controversy between the two camps, which both claimed the majority in a National Assembly where many elected officials have changed sides.

The HVM Presidential Party had declared its preference for the appointment of a “neutral” Prime Minister. But the opposition had clearly demanded that of a member of his camp, which the head of state had refused on Saturday.

“I appeal to political leaders to respect this political arrangement,” asked Monday the head of state.

“The year 2018 is a year of strengthening democracy through alternation through elections,” he said, “this strengthening of democracy through an election open to all, transparent and accepted by all” .

Part of the rejection by the opposition of the new electoral laws, the current crisis degenerated into a generalized sling against the head of state, who has so far refused to bow to repeated calls for resignation.

Two opposition supporters were killed on April 21, the very first day of rallies in the 13th of May square in Antananarivo, a historical center of protest. The protests have since remained peaceful.

 

– Military pressure –

 

The African Union (AU), the European Union (EU) and the United Nations have quickly intervened at the bedside of Madagascar to try to resolve this umpteenth crisis in recent history. But they have so far failed, as have the attempts at national mediation.

Just last week, the head of state and opposition leaders shunned a meeting organized by the National Council for Reconciliation.

Last Thursday, Defense Minister Beni Xavier Rasolofonirina banged on the table threatening to bring in the police if the government and the opposition did not quickly find a way out “within the deadlines set by the Constitutional High Court “.

This crisis erupted a few months before the general elections. They were scheduled for November and December, but the HCC has imposed that they take place in the “dry season”, that is to say between May and September next.

President Rajaonarimampianina, elected at the end of 2013, has not announced whether he intends to run for another term.

On the other hand, the two main opposition leaders – Marc Ravalomanana, president from 2002 to 2009, and Andry Rajoelina, in power from 2009 to 2014 – have already hinted that they were ready to embark on the battle.

Long brothers enemies of the Malagasy policy, the two leaders are today common cause against the regime.

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