Madagascar rivals agree power-sharing deal

Madagascar's feuding leaders said yesterday they had agreed a power-sharing deal and would hold elections on the Indian Ocean island within 15 months.



A communique issued after talks in Mozambique's capital said a national unity government would be set up and comprise a prime minister, three deputy prime ministers and 28 ministers.



"They agreed the transition period will not exceed 15 months ... and will end with elections under international supervision that will lead to the restoration of democratic institutions and stability in Madagascar," the statement said.



Former President Marc Ravalomanana, who was toppled in March by his army-backed rival Andry Rajoelina, said he would return to Madagascar but not personally take part in the process.



The agreement included cancelling charges of abuse of office that were levelled against Ravalomanana after his departure and related to the purchase of a presidential jet.



"I solemnly declare my total availability to help resolve this crisis," he said after days of talks mediated by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano. "The Ravalomanana movement will be an integral part of the transition bodies."



The deal was struck late on Saturday and the negotiations ended on Sunday with several details unresolved.



"There has not yet been any discussion about the allocation of seats. We had to adjourn because the age of some former heads of state did not allow more meetings," Rajoelina told reporters.



The talks, which began on Wednesday and also included former presidents Didier Ratsiraka, 73, and Albert Zafy, 82, were the first time Ravalomanana and Rajoelina had met face to face since the coup.

The political crisis has alarmed foreign investors, scared away tourists and cut economic growth. Rajoelina has been shunned by many nations and Ravalomanana, living in exile in South Africa, had insisted he remained the legitimate leader.



Lydie Boka, Madagascar expert at the risk consultancy StrategieCo, said the power-sharing deal looked to be a major breakthrough in restoring ties with the international community.



"It will allow donors who wish to help Madagascar to safely resume their assistance without being accused of supporting an illegal government," she told Reuters.



"There are several risks, however, in that the new government, which will attempt to assemble four different 'sensibilities', may lead to a paralysis of the country."



Ratsiraka and Zafy, the former presidents, are still seen as influential Malagasy power brokers and analysts say they would need to be part of any lasting solution.



Before the Maputo talks, Rajoelina had said a presidential election would be held by the end of 2010, but could take place earlier under the right conditions. The timing of the poll and who will be able to contest it have been big sticking points.



Opposition groups had insisted that Rajoelina, who has scrapped the constitution and set up an interim government, must not be allowed to plan an election unilaterally.



Rajoelina suspended the island's parliament in March, a move that opponents said was unconstitutional. It was not immediately clear how the agreement would affect this suspension.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
football

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
tech

Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind'

News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Project Manager

Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

Business Intelligence Specialist - work from home

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and growing IT Consultancy fir...

IT Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album