Partisans of Madagascar's opposition
are expected to besiege the presidential palace today (Monday) to force
President Marc Ravalomanana to step down. This follows claims by the opposition
leader that he has the backing of the national army after some officers refused
to take orders from Ravalomanana's government. Opposition leader Andry
Rajoelina reiterated his call for the president's resignation in a political
stalemate that is threatening to destabilize the country. President
Ravalomanana however called for a referendum Sunday, saying calls for his
resignation are illegal and an affront to democracy. Patricia Rajeriarison is a
resident of the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo. She tells reporter Peter
Clottey that Malagasies are confused about who is really in charge of the
will see because now it is a question of recognition. So, even if Andry
Rajoelina says that he is now ruling the country, the question for him is will
he now get recognized inside the country and also by our international
partners? So he will have to convince the whole country that he can rule effectively,"
Rajeriarison pointed out.
said the embattled president, even though he is under enormous opposition
pressure is constitutionally mandated to rule the country until his term
expires in 2011.
is the legally elected president so he still has some legitimacy. But at the
same time he has proposed a referendum under opposition pressure and he would
like to prove that the Malagasy people still want him as the president. The
question is who will conduct the referendum? It is a question of trust now so
can he (president) restore the confidence that he lost in the people? That is
also the question he needs to answer," she said.
said the president has so far refused to buckle under despite the opposition's
demand for his resignation.
(Ravalomanana) said he will never resign and that is what he said Sunday in a
radio address. He said he will never resign unless the Malagasy people ask him
to. So the only solution is to know if the Malagasy people want him to go for a
referendum and I think that is the logic. But the thing is about 80 percent of
the people live in the rural areas so you cannot know what they think,"
said there is need for the whole country to decide who wields the most power in
the ongoing political stalemate between the embattled President Ravalomana and
the deposed Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina.
they agree to what is happening now, I guess a national consensus is not a bad
idea because for the time being all the protests have happened in the capital,
Antananarivo and maybe in the other provinces and other areas, but they are
limited in time and place," she said.
said although the opposition leader claims he is enjoying support from the
military it is unclear if the military will dabble in the ongoing political
the army wants to stay neutral, but there seems to be confusion since the
information coming from both sides seems to be contradictory. So, I guess if
you really control the army then you have to prove it today (Monday),"
Rajeriarison pointed out.
said the ordinary Malagasy is confused about the ongoing political struggle
between the embattled president and the opposition leader.
are all very confused especially here in the capital, Antananarivo they are
sharply divided. So, you really don't know what the people outside the capital
are thinking. But if you want to know you have to go there to find out and you
know it is very difficult to get any communication even from the radio stations
because some of the radio stations cannot broadcast nationwide. It is very hard
and you know this is a really big country and the level of infrastructural
development is very low so it is very difficult to know what the people in the
rural areas are thinking," she said.
leader emerged from two weeks in hiding to declare himself president of the
country, claiming he has the backing of the military in an ongoing political
struggle with embattled President Ravalomanana. The opposition has also moved
without resistance into the empty offices of the less powerful prime minister
and named Monja Roindefo as his successor.
But Ravalomanana seems to be
unfazed by the activities of the opposition which he described as illegal and
has rejected the demands for his resignation. Monja Roindefo occupied the
official prime minister's office yesterday after the opposition took control of
the building, accompanied by around 30 soldiers.
So far, the army has said it would not intervene in the dispute,
though chief of staff Colonel Andre Andriarijaona said his forces could end up
supporting the opposition if it would restore calm.
Some Malagasy political analysts say although the
Ravalomanana's concession marked a first major shift in his position, he gave
no details as to what type of poll he could agree to stage. Talks between the
two sides came to a standstill weeks ago.
Meanwhile, officials of the
African Union will be holding an emergency meeting today (Monday) about the
ongoing political crisis in Madagascar.