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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Madagascar: Rivals to Meet in Top-Level Summit

Preparations are on the way in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, for a summit on Friday that will for the first time bring together all four previous heads of state of Madagascar to seek solutions to the problems that have provoked unrest in the country.

L'Express de Madagascar reports from Antananarivo that it is hoped the summit will lead to the adoption of a transitional agreement that will lead the country out of its present crisis, precipitated when the country's current leader, Andry Rajoelina, seized power from its last president, Marc Ravalomanana.

Four delegations will attend the summit in Maputo. The delegations will be headed by Ravalomanana, by Rajoelina, who is at present the head of a transitional government, and by former presidents Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka.

Two flights organised by the Southern African Development Community, the regional grouping which is mediating in the crisis, were scheduled to depart for Maputo from the town of Ivato on Monday, carrying members of the four delegations. A meeting last week limited the number of participants in each delegation to 12.

A third flight will have on board Didier Ratsirika, who is currently in exile in France. According to sources close to the summit, this flight will be provided by the French government. Ravalomanana, who lives in South Africa, will fly to Maputo on a scheduled airline flight.

The Maputo summit will take the form of a conference and, according to organisers, the delegations will be lodged in hotels which are separate but close to one another. The aim is to encourage informal discussions among them.

Meanwhile, L'Express also reports that a transitional charter was signed in the town of Andrainarivo last Friday during a convention organised by a mediator who was appointed by Ravalomanana's government when it was still in power.

However, only Rajoelina's transitional administration was represented at the convention. The charter retained Rajoelina as head of the transitional government and his appointee, Monja Roindefo, as prime minister, although the document also contains a mechanism for revoking the powers of the head of government.

Among the organs created by the transitional charter are; a Congress of the Transition, which will act as the legislative organ, a Constitutional Court, an independent electoral body and a National Reconciliation Council. All members of the present regime would maintain their posts.

The charter also provides for amnesty for all except those who were involved in activities that led to the loss of lives. This notwithstanding, all three factions which declined to attend the convention on Friday have voiced their disapproval of the document and declared it illegal.


Report adapted and translated for AllAfrica by Michael Tantoh.

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