Madagascar – talks between Rajoelina and Ravalomanana fail again

Sunday Nation

The collapse of talks held in the Seychelles between current Madagascan president Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana – the man he ousted with the help of rebel soldiers in March 2009 – threatens to prolong the political crisis that the country has been steeped in since the regime change.

Madagascar’s leader Andry Rajoelina (left) shakes hands with his predecessor Marc Ravalomanana on July 25 during the first round of talks with Seychelles President James Michel (centre). Photo/AFP

Madagascar’s leader Andry Rajoelina (left) shakes hands with his predecessor Marc Ravalomanana on July 25 during the first round of talks with Seychelles President James Michel (centre). Photo/AFP 

The talks were held last Wednesday in the wake of an announcement by Rajoelina’s government that long-awaited democratic elections would be held next year.

However, the government is opposed to Mr Ravalomanana’s contesting in the planned polls, arguing that an earlier criminal conviction disqualifies him.

Last week’s talks – the second direct encounter between the rivals in the Seychelles in two weeks, after a first round on July 25 also ended without resolution – were mediated by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, which had also set a July 31 deadline for the two rivals to settle their differences so that a timetable for elections in Madagascar could be unveiled.

Extended deadline

With the collapse of the talks, SADC extended the deadline to August 16, with a view to enabling the Madagascan political rivals to settle their differences.

That prospect appears remote, though, particularly given that the July 25 meeting ended without any deal after only a half-hour of discussions.

The wrangling politicians were however reported to have said that the discussions would continue in future, but no date was given for the next round of talks.  Read more…

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