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UN Chief Praises Madagascar Political Deal


U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is praising the deal for a transitional government in Madagascar, designed to end months of political chaos.

In a statement Monday, Mr. Ban urged political leaders to quickly agree on members of the new government, and to take steps that will lead to credible elections and the restoration of democracy.

Madagascar's four main political leaders signed an agreement Sunday for a 31-member unity government led by a prime minister and three deputy prime ministers.

Presidential and legislative elections are scheduled to take place within 15 months.

Madagscar has been wracked by turmoil since January, when then-opposition leader Andry Rajoelina launched a wave of protests that forced President Marc Ravalomanana from power.

Mr. Rajoelina was installed as president with military backing. But the international community has refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina, saying his takeover was illegal.

Sunday's agreement includes a clause that cancels abuse of office charges against ousted President Ravalomanana.

The talks in Mozambique included two former Madagascar presidents, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, who are still seen as influential power brokers.

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