News24

AU worried about Madagascar

2010-01-28 17:21

Addis Ababa - African Union chief Jean Ping said on Thursday he was concerned by the political deadlock in Madagascar, where the AU is involved in seeking a settlement.

"Concerning Madagascar, I'm worried after the difficulties recorded in the implementation of the Maputo I Accord and the additional Act of Addis Ababa," Ping said, referring to stalled agreements.

He said that he went to Madagascar last week "to make proposals to the Malagasy parties aimed at putting these two accords into operation".

"According to our latest reports, the president of the transition, Andry Rajoelina has announced... a postponement of parliamentary elections due on March 20 and the imminent holding of a meeting of the 'forces vives' (active forces coalition of civil society organisations) and the different political groups to fix the date of an election, in a desire to respect an inclusive and consensual process," Ping added.

The AU chief added that he hoped Rajoelina's announcement was a sign of his desire to ease tensions in Madagascar, where Rajoelina and three former heads of state are embroiled in a power struggle.

Madagascar has been in crisis since the end of 2008, when clashes began between supporters of President Marc Ravalomanana and those of Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo.

Rajoelina took power in March last year with the support of the army, but he is not internationally recognised as head of state of the large and poor Indian Ocean island nation.

On Tuesday, Rajoelina announced that the elections of March 20 could be postponed to win the widest possible support, after unilaterally announcing the polls in mid-December.

Last week, Ping gave the Malagasy parties an AU roadmap to end the crisis, which reiterated the need to apply the accords signed in Maputo and in Addis Ababa. The parties have until February 5 to make their views known.