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SADC Mediators Propose 'Roadmap' for Madagascar Crisis

Andry Rajoelina (file photo)

International mediators from the Southern African Development Community, SADC, are proposing a power sharing, interim government to end a two-year crisis in Madagascar sparked by a military-backed coup. But it is not clear whether parties opposed to the current leader, Andry Rajoelina, will accept the new government.

Madagascar's main political parties say they are ready and willing to participate in a new interim government proposed by a SADC international mediation team this week, but are contesting proposals that Mr. Rajoelina be recognized as its president until elections are held later this year.

The "Roadmap Out of The Crisis" proposal from SADC is a huge shift in policy as the international community has refused to recognize Mr. Rajoelina since the then 34-year-old disc jockey ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in March, 2009.

Mozambican politician Leonardo Simao, heading the SADC mediation team, said in a press conference Thursday that most parties considered the document as a positive proposal to lift Madagascar from the crisis. He said the three main opposition parties were keen to take part in the new interim government but had not yet accepted the current draft.

"The SADC mediation team remains confident that the proposed roadmap constitutes a viable framework to put an end to the crisis in Madagascar. The positive responses received from Malagasy political parties reinforces this conviction that an end to the crisis in Madagascar is soon to become a reality," he said.

Roland Ravatomanga, from the former president’s party, said they oppose a clause preventing Ravalomanana from returning to the country until the authorities consider it politically stable, blocking him from planned presidential elections this year.

They claim proposals allowing current leader Andry Rajoelina to choose a prime minister, ministers and members of parliament would not make a consensual government.

"We refuse to agree to the huge powers being laid down in this road map, such as the power to appoint a Prime Minister, then the members of government, then the members of both chambers of the transitional parliament. He will have the last word, and we can’t accept that because it won’t be a consensual government," said Ravatomanga.

Opposition groups are shocked that an interim leader, who himself took power through a coup, would be granted such recognition, saying even a democratically elected president would not have this amount of power.

The party loyal to former president Albert Zafy has rejected the current draft as not consensual. In a press conference Thursday, they called on the military to intervene peacefully, and said that if consensus could not be reached through negotiation, they would take the issue to the streets.