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Malagasies Fear Deeper Political Crisis After Ravalomanana Supporters’ Ultimatum Expires Friday 

Malagasies are expressing fear that ongoing political tensions in the country could spiral into a full-scale civil war after an ultimatum by supporters of deposed President Marc Ravalomanana to the new transitional government ends today (Friday). The former president's supporters rejected calls by the transitional team led by Andry Rajoelina for dialogue, vowing to continue their protests until the new government resigns. They maintain that Ex-President Ravalomanana is still the president although he resigned under opposition-led daily protests that led to at least a hundred dead and scores injured.

Malagasy journalist Mialy Randriamampianina tells reporter Peter Clottey that supporters of the former president are demanding his return to power until his term expires in two years.

"Today will be the end of the ultimatum made by supporters of Marc Ravalomanana. They have been holding a series of meetings starting from last Saturday and they say they are waiting for the transitional government headed by Andry Rajoelina to resign. So, if the government doesn't resign today, they will continue with their daily protests," Randriamampianina said.

She said supporters have been urging the former president to return to the country and take over the reins of government on the grounds Ravalomanana still has two more years before his second terms expires.

"They are really waiting for him to return. You know Marc Ravalomanana called his supporters on the phone when all of his supporters were in a meeting. He promised them saying that he will return to Madagascar and as you know most of his supporters say that for them Marc Ravalomanana is always the president of Madagascar. The supporters say he was forced to resign and that they are not accepting the transitional government led by Andry Rajoelina," she noted.

Randriamampianina said it would be unlikely that the transitional government will resign as demanded by supporters of former President Ravalomanana.

"For sure they (transitional government) will not resign because they have started to work and they are starting to make some changes to some of the ministries. And today they are going to nominate some more ministers in the Monja Roindefo government," Randriamampianina said.

She said there are fears among some Malagasies about tensions between supporters of former president and the leader of the transitional government saying such fears could lead to deadly clashes.

"Each day that supporters of the former president hold their meetings there seem to be collisions with supporters of the transitional government. So, we are really afraid of civil war and even in one of the high schools here in the capital there were confrontations between the supporters of the transitional government and supporters of the former president. The transitional government has called for peace negotiations and some people are hoping that it will go well so there would be peace in this country because we are very afraid of civil war," she pointed out.

The International community, including the African Union, Southern African Development Community (SADC), European Union and United States, condemned the transfer of power in Madagascar as unconstitutional describing it as a coup d'état. Both Washington and the European Union have suspended humanitarian aid as a result of the opposition take over after the president was forced to resign.

The transitional government led by former opposition leader Andry Rajoelina who took over after the former president resigned has decided to hold a two-day national conference early next month to decide the date and the organization of a presidential election. This comes after the country's navy ordered Andry Rajoelina to leave his power within seven days from March 18, when the High Constitutional Court (HCC) legalized him as president.

But the military came a week after the navy's ultimatum declaring their support for the new president saying the entire military was unanimous in its support for President Andry Rajoelina.

Meanwhile, the African Union is urging Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina to send a letter to the continental body to clarify if it was ready or not to host the African Union (AU) summit, originally scheduled to be held in Madagascar in early July.

Addressing his supporters a few days ago after the High Constitutional Court legalized his presidency, Rajoelina expressed his willingness to continue with preparation work for the AU summit left by his predecessor.