Madagascar: Andry Rajoelina handpicks his new ministers

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Andry Rajoelina, President of the Malagasy High Transitional Authority (HAT), partially reshuffled his government on Monday, bringing in ten new ministers, including five military men, while letting go of some of the older ministers. According to him, the new government formation will lead the country to elections scheduled to take place later this year. Denouncing the decision, the opposition argue that Mr. Rajoelina acted unilaterally.

HAT president, Andry Rajoelina, Monday appointed ten new ministers, including five military officers, in a government reshuffle that has been condemned by the opposition as a unilateral move.

Among the ten new ministers, five are technocrats with no political affiliation. Some of the older ministers have been sent packing, as is the case of General Claude Ravelomanana, minister of state for the Gendarmerie, whose position has been filled by Brigadier General Randrianazary.

The new cabinet consists of thirty two members, including seven senior military officers.

Andry Rajoelina argues that the new cabinet is in line with his plan to establish a “neutral” government in the run-up to elections –legislative and presidential — before the end of the year.

Earlier this month in Pretoria, after the collapse of talks between the various Malagasy politcal groups, he had promised to share power.

Meanwhile, the opposition has denounced another operation they deem arbitrary.

“Once again this is a unilateral move and as such it can not obtain international recognition,” Fetison Andrianirina, leader of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana’s political party, was quoted by Reuters.

The opposition insist that the formation of a true transition government can only be justified if the Maputo and Addis Ababa agreements, which were signed by all the country’s political groups, are implemented.

The Malagasy opposition is not ready to accept anything short of a consensus government.

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