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SADC, Opposition Rejects New Madagascar Government


Southern African leaders have rejected a transitional government announced by Madagascar's self-proclaimed leader Andry Rajoelina. They were joined by three former Malagasy presidents who said the new government is illegal.

The outgoing chairman of the Southern African Development Community, South African President Jacob Zuma, told reporters following the SADC summit in Kinshasa that the 15-member group condemns the new government in Madagascar.

He recalled that SADC suspended Madagascar's membership after then-President Marc Ravalomanana was ousted in March by current leader Andry Rajoelina.

"It was a coup, unconstitutional change, and we do not accept it," said Zuma. "That's our premise. Whatever else that happened after that does not count insofar as references. We would want to see the restoration of the constitutionality in Madagascar."

Malagasy Prime Minister Monja Roindefo announced the new government Tuesday on national television saying it would oversee a transitional period leading to elections next year.

It included 13 new ministers of which one-half dozen were close collaborators of Mr. Ravalomanana and his two predecessors, Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy.

Rajoelina asked the prime minister to form the transitional government to fulfill an agreement signed last month by the four leaders. The accord seeks to end months of political confrontation that followed the ouster.

However, the former presidents rejected the proposed government saying it violates the agreement which calls for the president, vice-president and prime minister to be chosen by consensus.

Mr. Ravalomanana left Madagascar six months ago after weeks of violent demonstrations in which some 200 people were killed.

The confrontation hurt tourism and foreign investment and led to the suspension of foreign aid by many donors.

The African Union, United Nations and group of French-speaking nations have also been mediating the dispute. They have responded saying they, too, reject any unilateral solution to the crisis.

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