The president of Madagascar's transitional government, Andry Rajoelina, has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana and has announced he will not run in the upcoming presidential elections.
However, L'Express de Madagascar reports from Antananarivo that it remains to be seen whether the crisis triggered by Rajoelina's seizure of power from Ravalomanana nearly four years ago has finally ended.
While Rajoelina announced his intention to abstain from standing, he gave the impression that he was not ready to relinquish power.
"To reiterate my announcement of 12 May 2010, I declare that I will not run in the presidential election," he said during an emotional declaration to the nation this week. "It is better that I sacrifice myself than our entire nation of more than 22 million."
L'Express said Rajoelina's announcement was not limited to the issue of his stepping down. He suggested that the elections take place "between the months of May and July," with congressional ballots being cast before presidential ballots. "Combing the two elections could create problems," he argued.
This would change the electoral calendar set by the Independent National Electoral Commission and United Nations experts. L'Express said it remains to be seen what Rajoelina will do if his proposal is refused.
Moreover, Rajoelina repeated that he will not allow Ravalomanana, currently in exile in South Africa, return to the country before the elections.
"We have talked to the heads of the troika (the security wing of the Southern African Development Community, the SADC). It was determined necessary to implement a plan that will prevent conflict in our country until the next President of the IV Republic is elected," he said.
Rajoelina tried to reassure his reporters, saying "It is necessary to have a vision. I am the solution for today, and I will remain so tomorrow," he said.
L'Express added that Rajoelina's statements did little to hide his desire to retain power, skirting the "neither…nor" (neither Rajoelina nor Ravalomanana) solution set forth by the SADC.
As part of his plan, Rajoelina would lead his party through the legislative elections as transitional president of the country. He is set to launch a tour on Saturday, highlighting a series of projects including social housing, the new City Hall and streets in the capital region of Atsinanana.
With an election offensive, he hopes his party will win a parliamentary majority, creating a political monopoly with full legislative power.
L'Express suggests that Rajoelina might also find other ways of reclaiming power.
Adapted from a report in L'Express de Madagascar, translated in AllAfrica's Dakar office by Elise Knutsen.