Representatives of four Madagascan presidents meet

Representatives of four successive Madagascan presidents have held a meeting here to get the island country out of the current political crisis.
Representatives of the High Transitional Authority led by former Antananarivo mayor Andry Rajoelina and those of ex- presidents Didier Ratsiraka, Albert Zafy and Marc Ravalomanana began a roundtable meeting at the Senegal Embassy here on Thursday.

The closed-door negotiation, strictly exclusive to all reporters, was continued inside the Senegal Embassy on Saturday, according to the official Madagascan National Radio.

The meeting, aimed at looking for a common vision on possible solutions to the political crisis in the Indian Ocean island country, was sponsored by the United Nations envoy Tiébilé Dramé and the African Union special envoy to Madagascar Ablassé Ouedraogo, Xinhua reported.

Local media reported that Tabera Randriamanantsoa, a political advisor of the former president Zafy, was appointed by Ravalomanana as his prime minister to lead a new government, but he was waiting for the result of the meeting between representatives of the four presidents to accept or reject the demand by Ravalomanana.

Ravalomanana fled out of the country on March 25, four days after his political rival Rajoelina officially replaced him as President of the Indian Ocean Island.

Ravalomanana, who flew to Addis Ababa from Swaziland earlier this week, said last Tuesday that he would turn back soon in response to his supporters' call.

The sacked president also said that he would also appoint other government officials when he was back to his homeland.
Ravalomanana came to power in 2002 following a six-month stalemate with his predecessor Didier Ratsiraka, who ruled the fourth largest island in the world from 1975 to 1991 and again from 1997 to 2001.

Ravalomanana was forced to step down on March 17 following a rebellion of the armed forces, which openly supported Andry Rajoelina, who proclaimed president of the country on Feb. 7.

However, while his supporters asked for his return to power at a mass gathering here on Saturday, Ravalomanana called the Armed Forces "to reacts against the coup d'état by Rajoelina and his followers".

He said in the telephone calling from Swaziland that he would come back very soon to Madagascar, but he did not say when.
The power change in Madagascar was condemned as unconstitutional and a coup d'état by the international community, including the African Union, the Southern African Development Community and the European Union.

During the political stalemate between Ravalomanana and Ratsiraka during the first six months in 2002, Senegal had arranged meetings between the two politicians but failed to find a peaceful solution.

The western African country, which has established close relations with successive presidents in Madagascar, has called for a negotiated settlement of the current political crisis that began last December in Madagascar.

The African Union and the Southern African Development Community, which have failed to mediate a peaceful solution to the political controversy between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina, urged the Madagascan authorities to hold a national election in three to five months.
But the High Transitional Authority led by Rajoelina decided at the end of a national conference last week to hold a general election in October next year.

Media here also reported on Saturday that the transitional government dismissed all leaders of the 22 regions over the country and promised to appoint very soon their successor though the government did not yet appoint other ministers as it promised.

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