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Madagascar: Agreement Analysis - 2002-04-19


A well-known African political analyst is expressing pessimism about this week’s agreement between the two rival candidates in the December presidential elections in Madagascar.

The accord calls for a recount of the votes. If no clear winner emerges between President Didier Ratsiraka and opposition leader Marc Ravalomanana, a referendum will be held in six months, during which time there will be a transitional government.

Dr. Vincent Magombe is the director of Africa Inform International, a London-based media organization. He told English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey the agreement did not come as a surprise to him. Dr. Magombe says he sees it as the first step in solving the crisis and there must be a second step, or the violence will resume.

Dr. Magombe says that step should be the immediate formation of a government of national unity to administer the country between now and the next general elections, about four years from now. His proposal contrasts with the six-month government of national reconciliation provided for in the current accord if no clear winner emerges from the recount.

Dr. Magombe says the country is so divided that only a government of national unity can be effective. And he said he does not have confidence in the recount or the subsequent referendum.

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