Monday, April 20, 2009

Madagascar News Bulletin: One Dead, More Injured in Anti-Government Unrest; Ravalomanana Says He Will Return Soon

1 dead, more injured in Madagascar

April 20, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Protesters gather in Madagascar

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, April 20 (UPI) -- At least one person was killed and 13 injured in anti-government protests Monday in Madagascar, hospital sources said.

The BBC reported in Antananarivo that police opened fire after demonstrators who support former President Marc Ravalomanana barricaded roads to protest the closure of two radio stations. Cars were set on fire close to government buildings.

Tear gas also was used on protesters who had fled to the city's main hospital where doctors said one person was dead of head injuries, the British network said.

Ravalomanana resigned in March in the face of a coup led by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina.

Rajoelina, who has said he intends to hold presidential elections in October 2010, has issued a warrant for Ravalomanana's arrest.

Ravalomanana, now in Johannesburg, South Africa, said he plans to return to Madagascar in the next few weeks.

He said holding elections this year is "the only way out of the crisis."

In the wake of the coup, Madagascar was suspended from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community.

Ravalomanana, who maintains he is still the democratically elected and constitutional president, said Monday he has appointed Manandafy Rakotonirina as his new prime minister, AllAfrica.com reported.

Ravalomanana said he "will work with all parties interested in a peaceful outcome, that adhere to the Constitution, the rule of law, and democracy."


Madagascar protest turns violent

One person has been killed and at least 13 others injured during anti-government protests in Madagascar, hospital sources say.

The BBC's Jonny Hogg in the capital, Antananarivo, says police opened fire after protesters barricaded roads.

Tear gas was then used in the grounds and buildings of the city's main hospital where protesters had fled.

The protesters, supporters of deposed President Marc Ravalomanana, are angry at the closure of two radio stations.

Violence broke out as crowds marched towards a courthouse in the centre of Antananarivo, protesting at the shutting down of Radio Mada and Radio Fahazavana.

Security forces used tear gas to break up the crowds, then opened fire.

Our correspondent saw at least one person shot in the back at close range, and says cars have been set on fire close to government buildings.

Doctors at the hospital said one person had died from head injuries.

'Only way'

Mr Ravalomanana resigned in March during a coup headed by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina.

Mr Rajoelina has said he intends to hold presidential elections in October 2010 and has issued a warrant for Mr Ravalomanana's arrest.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Ravalomanana said he was not afraid of being arrested and was planning to return to Madagascar in the next few weeks.

The former president told a news conference in Johannesburg that having early elections or a referendum before the end of the year was "the only way out of the crisis".

The international community has condemned Mr Rajoelina's action as a coup.

Madagascar has been suspended from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

Mr Ravalomanana said he trusted the SADC and AU would help him return.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8008979.stm
Published: 2009/04/20 17:56:26 GMT


Madagascar ex-leader 'to return'

Ousted Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana has said he intends to return to the Indian Ocean island in the next few weeks.

Mr Ravalomanana said he wanted to form an inclusive government and hold a presidential polls by the end of year.

He did not rule out the idea of working with his military-backed rival, Andry Rajoelina, who forced him from power in March after months of street protests.

Mr Rajoelina last week issued an arrest warrant for Mr Ravalomanana.

The international community has condemned Mr Rajoelina's action as a coup.

Madagascar has been suspended from the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).

"I'll be back in Madagascar in a few weeks and the plan is to have anticipated [early] elections or a referendum before the end of the year. That is the only way out of the crisis," the former president told a news conference in Johannesburg, reported Reuters news agency.

"I don't want to have bloodshed in Madagascar. I'm not afraid to be arrested [when I go back]. I trust Sadc and the AU will help me to return to Madagascar," he said.

Mr Ravalomanana also said he would be willing to share power with Mr Rajoelina, but only if his rival was "committed to follow the rule of law".

Last week, the ex-president, a self-made dairy tycoon, said he was planning to return to Madagascar but did not hint at a timeline.

He also announced the nomination of a new prime minister, which was rejected by Madagascar's new government.

In the capital Antananarivo, thousands of Mr Ravalomanana's supporters have been holding protests almost daily.

Former disc jockey Mr Rajoelina has pledged a presidential election in October 2010 to restore democracy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/africa/8008489.stm
Published: 2009/04/20 14:13:56 GMT


Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar (Antananarivo)

Madagascar: Statement by Presidency of the Republic of Madagascar

20 April 2009
Press Release

His Excellency, Marc Ravalomanana, the President of the Republic of Madagascar, met with the international media in Johannesburg this morning to discuss the nomination of his new Prime Minister and his plans for returning to Madagascar.

President Ravalomanana confirmed that he is still the democratically elected and constitutional President of Madagascar. As such, he takes “full responsibility for following the Constitution and respecting the rule of law”.

In accordance with Article 53 of the Constitution, he appointed Manandafy Rakotonirina as his new Prime Minister. The Prime Minister’s mission will be to select and propose Ministers so a working Government can be rebuilt.

The President announced that he “will work with all parties interested in a peaceful outcome, that adhere to the Constitution, the rule of law, and democracy”. He reminded all those involved in the crisis in Madagascar that “national interest is above all other interests”.

President Ravalomanana also declared, that “forming an inclusive Government that respects the Constitution is an extremely important and urgent step to restore constitutional order in Madagascar”.

He reminded the press that many achievements have been accomplished since his election as President in 2002, and that Madagascar was the first country to qualify for the Millennium Challenge Account in 2004, in recognition of good governance and sound economic policies.

President Ravalomanana set up the Madagascar Action Plan in 2007, a bold and ambitious five year plan for the development of the country. He is very much saddened that the progress of the MAP has been stopped and reversed by the HAT, including large-scale education reforms for which Madagascar received much funding from donors.

He reiterated that “all countries in the world have condemned the events in Madagascar as a coup d’├ętat”, and that his “decision to move forward with the new Prime Minister and inclusive Government is the best option to work out of the crisis, ensuring the restoration of peace and security”.

The President thanked all the SADC and AU countries for their support and the commitments they have made. He also thanked the tens of thousands of supporters who have demonstrated in Madagascar regularly, and the demonstrators in France and Reunion. He stated that it truly shows the international solidarity between Malagasy people.

The President also thanked the women’s movement recently established in Madagascar for their courage and determination, and announced that such support would help the Prime Minister achieve his mission.

President Ravalomanana also discussed the recent G20 meeting that offered support to developing countries, and declared that he hopes to once again count on their support once rule of law and constitutional order are restored.

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