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Ex-Madagascar PM Calls for Dialogue to Resolve Crisis

  • Peter Clottey

Madagascans line up to cast their votes in a referendum in Antananarivo, 17 Nov 2010

Madagascans line up to cast their votes in a referendum in Antananarivo, 17 Nov 2010

Madagascar’s former prime minister has called for another round of peace talks between embattled President Andry Rajoelina and all stakeholders to resolve the country’s growing political crisis following an attempted coup d’état Wednesday.

Monja Roindefo said Malagasies have expressed concern about the escalating tension following a referendum for a new constitution which will pave way for Mr. Rajoelina to contest the next presidential election.

“This military committee said they will settle all the Malagasy political problems. And they will put together the political actors here in Madagascar. So the development of the story will be more known today [Thursday] because they did not take the power properly. But they made the declaration of setting up a committee in order to normalize and resolve the political crisis here in Madagascar,” said Roindefo.

“So, how they are going to put in place the process it will be known more today [Thursday] and maybe tomorrow [Friday]. In fact there is some tension between the faction with Andry Rajoelina and this growing number of officers who claim the set up of this committee,” he said.

Mr. Rajoelina refused to step down defying military officers who say they have seized power on the southern African island nation. He spoke to reporters in the capital, Antananarivo Wednesday after voting in a constitutional referendum sponsored by his government.

Former Prime Minister Roindefo said there is a need for the country’s political leaders to show commitment towards the next round of dialogue, which he said is the only way to resolve the escalating crisis.

“I think we should seek something new, something consensual conforming [to] international norms in order to take Madagascar out of this crisis,” he said.

Following the attempted coup, Mr. Rajoelina said the military threatened him with death if he did not resign, but added, “I'm not afraid of threats.”

Witnesses said the Rajoelina government appeared to remain in control of government institutions following the officers' declaration, made at a military barracks near Antananarivo's airport.

The group of about 20 officers told reporters Wednesday they were dissolving all government institutions and setting up a committee to run the country. The capital was reportedly calm for most of Wednesday and voting on the new constitution proceeded normally.

Late Wednesday, however, security forces clashed with anti-government protesters at a military barracks housing the rebel officers. Reports from the scene say several hundred protesters tried to erect barricades to prevent soldiers from entering the barracks.

Madagascar's three main opposition movements had called for a boycott of Wednesday's referendum. Critics say the charter will not resolve the country's political crisis nor win international legitimacy for Mr. Rajoelina.

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