A national forum under the auspices of the Transitional High Authority (HAT), led by Andry Rajoelina, opened yesterday in Madagascar with the party of former president Marc Ravaolomana nowhere to be found. The former president’s supporters as well as the international community are demanding the return of constitutional order on the island.
The Transitional High Authority (HAT), Thursday, launched its first national forum. For two days, representatives of the Malagasy society are charged, inter alia, with the setting of a date for the next presidential elections. According to the promises of the President of HAT, Andry Rajoelina, presidential elections will be held within 24 months.
Supporters of ousted president, Mr Ravalomanana, announced Wednesday that they will not be taking part in the forum. According to Raharinaivo Andrianantoandro, spokesman of TIM, the ex-president’s political party, although they do not oppose the idea of a national forum they cannot be part of it because they “do not agree with the content”. They plan to hold their own meeting on Friday to discuss the crisis and also call for the return of their leader.
New Malagasy leadership insensitive to criticism
Since March 23, supporters of former Malagasy President have steadily increased their protests in the malagasy capital, Antananarivo. Meanwhile, international support for Marc Ravalomanana has remained rife with Paris and Washington condemning the”coup d’état” while the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have gone ahead to suspend all relations with Madagascar until the return of constitutional order.
Marc Ravalomanana, who was present at the SADC summit, Wednesday, described the circumstances under which he was made to resign as threatening. According to Mr. Ravalomanana, he was forced to transfer power to the military on March 17 under the threat of a gun. He also insisted that he “never resigned”.
Rebutting the ex-president’s statement, Colonel Andre Andriarijaona, Chief of General Staff of the Malagasy army who handed over power to Andry Rajoelina, told the press that “It’s false, there was no march on Iavoloha (the palace occupied by Marc Ravalomanana before his resignation), we never intended to go there”.
Insensitive to the manifold objections relating to his seizure of power, Andry Rajoelina Tuesday announced the names of 41 of the 44 members who will form his government. The former mayor is counting on his supporters to consolidate his power.
But for the time being, Ravalomanana’s shadow hangs thick over the Transitional High Authority’s decisions as his supporters, who form a considerable electoral base, continue to reject Rajoelina’s legitimacy, bringing the question of another civil strife to the fore.