The transitional authority in Madagascar is willing to bring forward elections for the presidency and the legislature and hold them before the end of this year, writes Iloniaina Alain in the Antananarivo newspaper, L'Express de Madagascar.
The change in the authority's stance was announced by Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, its foreign minister, on Thursday. It came as the former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano visited the country on a mediation mission at the request of the Southern African Development Community.
The transitional authority seized power from an elected government with the backing of elements of the army in March.
Until now, the authority has proposed parliamentary elections for April 2010 and presidential elections for the following October, despite pressure for elections in 2009 from countries such as the United States.
At the same time as announcing a concession, Ny Hasina Andriamanjato called for the international community to help organize the elections and re-iterated the need for constitutional revision ahead of the election to remedy defects in the law.
It is assumed that the authority is opting for elections after the stalling of talks on an amnesty, Alain writes. And to show its commitment to transparency, it promises to take no part in the organisation of the elections but to leave that solely to the international community and civil society.
Alain says it is too early to tell whether the transitional authority is serious about holding elections by the end of the year, but that all eyes are now on Andry Rajeolina, the former mayor who led the takeover of power in March and who heads the authority.
Report excerpted and translated from the original by Michael Tantoh.