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Second Round Madagascar Talks End Wednesday


The second round of talks aimed at resolving Madagascar's political crisis are scheduled to conclude Wednesday in the Mozambican capital, Maputo.

The negotiations are mostly centered on positions within a transitional unity government ahead of a general election scheduled for the next 15 months.

The sticking point is who will hold the position of prime minister to lead the unity government at the talks.

The current negotiations are mediated by former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano backed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

Simeao Pongoane, VOA's correspondent covering the talks in Mozambique said that Malagasy opposing parties at the talks are determined to resolve the escalating political tensions in the country.

"What is being discussed today is who is going to be the prime minister, who is going to be the deputy prime minister and so on," Pongoane said.

He said members of the unity government will be excluded from the next general election.

"Those who will be part of the transitional government, they will not run for election, which will be held after 15 months of (the) preparation of constitutional amendment," he said.

Deposed President Marc Ravalomanana has said he will not take part directly in the transition, but has so far refused to rule out participating in the next election.

Pongoane said the former president wants his party to be part of the transitional government.

"The ousted President Marc Ravalomanana will not be part of that (government). In fact he said he will not be part of a transitional process, but he allowed his party to be part of the transitional process," Pongoane said.

He said participants repose confidence in the talks.

"Yes, they are being honest as far as I can understand from what I have been trying to get from them. They are being very honest… all of them in fact said they are committed. I believe that by the end of today there would be some sort of agreement who is going to be prime minister (and) who is going to be the deputy prime minister," he said.

Participating in the ongoing Malagasy talks in Maputo are, President Andry Rajoelina as well as former Presidents Marc Ravalomanana, Didier Ratsiraka, and Albert Zafy.

Pongoane said there are indications that the Malagasy impasse will be resolved.

"I believe that that will happen. In fact after these discussions in Maputo, they will go back to their country and then try to put this agreement that is reached in Maputo to all other stakeholders," Pongoane said.

He said former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano has played a pivotal role in the ongoing talks to resolve tensions in Madagascar.

Meanwhile, the participants of the talks are expected to name a president, prime minister, three deputy prime ministers and 28 ministers within 30 days under the terms of an agreement signed earlier this month.

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