Madagascar leaders ink power-sharing deal

Madagascar’s top four political figures—including ousted President Marc Ravalomanana—on Saturday signed an agreement on sharing power ahead of elections next year, an Agence France-Presse journalist witnessed.

Andry Rajoelina, the self-proclaimed president of the Indian Ocean island nation who took power in March, Ravalomanana, and former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy each put their
names to the accord.

Hours earlier it was announced the four had reached a consensus that would see Rajoelina confirmed as the transitional president but with two “co-presidents” from other political movements.

“The Madagascan leaders have managed to reach an accord on putting in place a transitional charter,” said UN-appointed mediator Tiebile Drame.

“They agreed on the leadership of transitional institutions, including the presidency, and on power sharing in the government and other institutions,” he said.

Rajoelina, a 35-year-old former disc jockey, toppled
Ravalomanana with the army’s backing on March 17 but has since failed to win the recognition of the international community.

The coup came as a result of months of sometimes violent demonstrations that left the island in diplomatic and institutional limbo, with parallel administrations claiming legitimacy.

Drame said there would be “a consensual president, two consensual co-presidents, a consensus prime minister and a national
unity government”.

The four leaders, who have been meeting in the Ethiopian capital since Tuesday, agreed in August to a 15-month transition period but had since sparred over the details of power-sharing.

Speaking after the agreement was announced, Ravalomanana told reporters he hoped the country could now move foward.

“We’ll do our best to improve the situation in Madagascar and work together ... I’m confident it will work,” he said.

He added: “The relation [between myself and Rajoelina] is getting better, it is improving every day. The only way to solve the problem in Madagascar is to talk and I’m glad he [Rajoelina]

“I will help him, I have a son like him,” he said.

AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told AFP the agreement symbolised “the spirit of consensus, the willingness of the Madagascan parties to work together during the transition.

“This acceptance has marked the turning point in the negotiations in order to overcome this stalemate,” he said.

Earlier, Rajoelina agreed to rejoin the crisis talks after threatening to pull out amid bickering.

Rajoelina went back into the talks after several hours of discussions with African Union mediators, who prolonged the negotiations by a day in order to try to achieve a breakthrough.

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