Madagascar awaits details of new government

The man appointed prime minister by Madagascar’s leader Andry Rajoelina said yesterday evening he had formed a unity government on the Indian Ocean Island, despite a boycott by opposition rivals.
A deal struck by the island’s political kingmakers in August paved the way for a power-sharing government but Rajoelina, who ousted former leader Marc Ravalomanana in a March coup, ordered Monja Roindefo last week to name a government within 72 hours, Reuters reports.
“The government is more or less formed. It includes ministers who are allies of former presidents Ravalomanana and (Didier) Ratsiraka,” Roindefo said in a televised statement.
He said the nominations would be made public today, prompting speculation that behind-the-scenes negotiations remained to be completed.
The world’s fourth largest island which has opened its doors to foreign firms investing in oil, cobalt, nickel, gold, coal and uranium was thrown into chaos this year when Rajoelina led a campaign of protests against Ravalomanana.
Civil unrest killed more than 140 people, spooked tourists and hit economic growth. Regional blocs and foreign donors condemned the army-backed takeover.
The country’s leading opposition movements said Rajoelina and Roindefo were acting alone in picking ministers in contravention of the power-sharing accord struck in Mozambique.
Under the terms of that deal, the country’s power-brokers Rajoelina, Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka and former president Albert Zafy must pick a consensus government, sharing out the top posts of president, vice president and prime minister.
The political foes, however, have since remained deadlocked on who should lead Madagascar towards presidential elections slated for the end of 2010.
Analysts say both Rajoelina and Monja have little room for manoeuvre within their own camp.
“Harder than picking new ministers will be choosing which ones will go,” wrote Madagascar newspaper editor Zo Rakotoseheno in his daily column. “They were all loyal militants in the downfall of the predecessor.”
Last week, the armed forces rejected an opposition call to occupy the top three posts, stressing the military had no role to play in politics.

Pic: Army backed President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar