Madagascar opposition says mediation efforts failed


International mediation efforts to end a two-year-old political crisis in Madagascar have failed, the Indian Ocean island’s three main opposition parties says. Speaking for the opposition groups, former leader Marc Ravalomanana, who stepped down under pressure from street protests and parts of the military in 2009, denounced a regionally backed plan to break the deadlock as flawed.

On Wednesday, President Andry Rajoelina re-appointed General Camille Vital prime minister, a move that infuriated his political rivals on the two-year anniversary of Rajoelina’s power grab. The three opposition parties had not signed up to the road map from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) that proposes Rajoelina stay in power until free and fair elections are held.

However, Ravalomanana’s group had said it would support the mediation if jobs in the government and the electoral commission were shared out fairly. “He has flagrantly ignored that requirement by reappointing his closest politcal ally,” Ravalomanana said in a statement from South Africa where he is exiled.

However, some political analysts said international support appeared to be growing for Rajoelina, Africa’s youngest leader, particularly after November’s successful constitutional referendum in which turnout was more than 50 percent. “Although the main (opposition) groups are furious at this time, I expect them to give in, sooner or later, as there seems to be growing consensus externally that Rajoelina is doing the right thing,” said Lydie Boka of the France-based risk consultancy group StrategiCo.

The latest road map out of the crisis came after SADC, which had stood firmly behind Ravalomanana in the months after his overthrow, shifted its stance and swung behind France which has always been more sympathetic to Rajoelina.
“We cannot believe that unilateral, illegal actions by the regime continue without SADC or international intervention,” Ravalomanana said.