Opposition rejects Rajoelina plan

2010-05-13 16:52

Antananarivo - Madagascan opposition groups Thursday dismissed the decision by strongman Andry Rajoelina to rule himself out of this year's presidential elections, saying it did not resolve other key issues.

Rajoelina, who grabbed power in an army-backed coup in March 2009, said on Wednesday he would not run in the presidential polls he set for November in a bid to resolve the Indian Ocean island's protracted political crisis.

"His declaration has no importance because of the unilateral announcement of the election timetable," said Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, who heads the party of former president Albert Zafy.

"There are agreements that were signed. The four party leaders should hold talks to make amendments how they want," Rakotovahiny said.

Rajoelina rejected power-sharing accords signed in November with the president he ousted, Marc Ravalomana, and two other former presidents, Didier Ratsiraka and Zafy.

During his televised address on Wednesday, Rajoelina also outlined a political transition that includes a constitutional referendum set for August 12, parliamentary elections on September 30 and presidential polls on November 26.

He also announced a national dialogue to be held on May 27 to 29.

Important issues

"You have to acknowledge that he had the courage, but he has been cornered by the three political movements, his allies and a crumbling state," said Raharinaivo Andrianantoandro, of Ravalomanana's party.

He added that the decision does not resolve important issues such as an amnesty for Ravalomanana who is facing graft charges brought by his rival's regime.

The opposition groups also rejected Rajoelina's national dialogue forum.

"What is the point if it is him organising it? We are fed up of manipulation," said former Rajoelina ally Monja Roindefo. "He thinks Madagascans have a short memory. Who believes that this time he will keep his word?"

Rajoelina resisted cutting a deal with his opponents for months, with no progress from the latest attempt at international mediation last week in South Africa.

But he was forced to reverse course after the military refused to support him, and promised a roadmap to resolve the political crisis.

The impoverished Indian Ocean island has been in a political limbo since the 35-year-old former Antananarivo mayor toppled the president last year after weeks of sometimes bloody street protests.