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Madagascar Opposition Leader Calls for Another Round of Protests


Antananarivo's deposed mayor Andry Rajoelina is calling for a protest march today to demand the resignation of Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana. This comes after both the opposition leader and the president agreed to United Nations mediation to resolve the political impasse. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is expected to act as facilitator in negotiations between the president and the opposition leader. Some political analysts fear the impasse could plunge the country into an economic crisis. Mialy Randriamampianina is a Malagasy journalist. She tells reporter Peter Clottey that the opposition leader has vowed to continue with the protest until the president resigns from office.

"Today, the strike is going to restart again after Andry Rajoelina asked the people to go on strike again and to continue the strike until President Marc Ravalomanana resigns as the president of Madagascar. He also said they are going to continue with what they are protesting about, and even if some people were dead, those who died wouldn't have died for nothing, and that they are going to continue with the strike and protests," Randriamampianina pointed out.

She said some political analysts are hopeful that an agreement between the president and the opposition leader to hold talks over the impasse could bring stability to the country.

"But something which is new, and I think is good news, is that now we have the UN special representative in Madagascar who had a meeting with President Marc Ravalomanana in the morning and also met with the former mayor Andry Rajoelina in the afternoon. And both of them agreed about holding a dialogue in order to re-establish the peace in the country," she said.

Randriamampianina said the opposition leader maintains the protest demanding the resignation of the president would continue.

"He said before the meeting with the UN special representative in Madagascar that he is going to continue with the strike action. And the fact is also that many people trust in the way he does things in the country about improving the political situation in the country and the economic one. And he and his supporters think that the best way for these problems to be resolved is that President Marc Ravalomanana must resign from his post," Randriamampianina noted.

She said the opposition leader was of the view that the president would come forward and negotiate with him.

"He said he wants the president to react to some of these charges so that they will hold discussions together in order to have an agreement between them because they have never had the opportunity to hold talks together. We don't know yet when the discussion and this meeting is going to come on. But it is already a good thing that they are going to be meeting each other," she said.

Randriamampianina said most people welcome the announcement that the president and the opposition leader will hold talks.

"The population is taking it as good news because the fact is that Madagascar is a poor country. And that even if they want to go on strike, most of the people are afraid of their poor economic status and want the crisis to stop. They are also afraid that if the problems are not resolved, it would take a long time before anything is done and that some say would worsen their economic plight," Randriamampianina pointed out.

Opposition leader Rajoelina blames the death of the protesters, who were shot over the weekend while marching towards the presidential palace, on President Ravalomanana. While meeting with the UN special representative, Rajoelina demanded the establishment of a transitional government and an early national election after bringing Ravalomanana to justice for what he described as the bloody violence that killed dozens of people and injured hundreds of anti-government demonstrators over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the Ravalomanana government has named a new defense minister following Monday's resignation of Cécile Marie-Ange Manorohanta. She announced her resignation in a broadcast statement, saying that her conscience did not support the weekend killings. President Ravalomanana also announced plans today to announce the composition of his transitional government. It would be led by his Prime Minister Monja Roindefo, son of Malagasy nationalist Monja Jaona.


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