France urges dialogue over Madagascar leader’s impeachment

2015-06-15 16:36
Hery Rajaonarimampianina. (File: AFP)

Hery Rajaonarimampianina. (File: AFP)

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Paris - France on Monday called on all sides to respect a Madagascar constitutional court decision to throw out parliament's impeachment of President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, urging all parties to open a dialogue to avoid a new political crisis.

Rajaonarimampianina, who took office last year in the first presidential election since the 2009 coup, had challenged the legality of last month's motion, saying there were irregularities during the impeachment vote in parliament.

At stake, the president's supporters say, was the stability of the former French colony which has significant mineral resources, but has been struggling to rebuild itself after years of crisis and post-coup isolation.

"France, as a member of Madagascar's international support group, calls on all sides to respect the decision of constitutional court," Foreign ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal said in a statement.

Western donors

"We also call on all parties to undertake a frank and constructive dialogue and push for a climate of appeasement and stability in the greater interest of the Malagasy people."

Rajaonarimampianina's critics in parliament brought the motion after accusing him of failing to deliver on his promises since his peaceful 2013 election and of improperly dragging religion into politics by giving speeches in churches.

Mixing religion and politics is a sensitive issue in Madagascar, where just over half the 23 million people practice mostly local animist religions. Former President Marc Ravalomanana, ousted in the 2009 coup, was also blamed for using churches to drum up support when in power.

Western donors such as the United States have called for political unity in Madagascar, saying instability is hurting a fragile recovery.

Read more on:    hery rajaonarimampianina  |  madagascar  |  southern africa

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