Defence minister warns of intervention in Madagascar crisis

2018-05-31 20:34


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Madagascar's defence minister, General Beni Xavier Rasolofonirina, threatened on Thursday to deploy security forces if the government and opposition failed to resolve a crisis over controversial election laws.

His warning came after crunch talks between the opposition and government failed to defuse the dispute.

"We call on all of the leaders involved in this crisis who want to obstruct the life of the nation to find a solution," said Rasolofonirina in a statement.

"If this is unsuccessful, the security forces will intervene as the nation's last resort... to avoid a catastrophe."

Madagascar has been rocked by violent protests since April 21 over new laws that the opposition says are designed to bar their candidates from participating in elections expected this year.

Last Friday, the Constitutional Court ordered the president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, to form a government of national unity.

He was given a seven-day deadline to name a "consensus prime minister" who would lead it.

The government's composition should proportionately reflect the outcome of the last legislative elections in 2013, the court ordered.

However, this question has triggered fierce debate between the government and opposition.

Both sides say they hold the majority in parliament, where many legislators have changed allegiance since 2013.

On Thursday, Rajaonarimampianina petitioned the Constitutional Court, urging it to clarify its instructions.

Madagascar has seen a series of popular protest movements since the island nation gained independence from France in 1960, often resulting in bloodshed.

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Read more on:    madagascar  |  southern africa

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