Madagascar: Region Rejects Rajoelina's Election Plans

15 January 2010

Southern African leaders have dismissed plans by Malagasy leader Andry Rajoelina to hold unilaterally-organized elections in March.

A summit of heads of state and government attending the inauguration of President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, who was re-elected in October, called on Rajoelina to return to internationally-supervised talks aimed at restoring constitutional rule in Madagascar.

Last month Rajoelina, who seized power last March, repudiated agreements reached with three former presidents of Madagascar in August and November on the establishment of a transitional government pending new elections.

In a communique issued on Friday after their meeting in Maputo, leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said: "Summit... rejects the unilateral plan of the de facto Government of Madagascar to reorganize the transition and hold legislative elections in March 2010, and urges the international community to also reject it."

They said Madagascar would remain suspended from all SADC structures until the restoration of constitutional order.

The communique added: "Summit rejects any attempt to use democratic means, institutions and processes to legitimize Governments that came to power through unconstitutional means, and urges the international community, in particular the development partners, to support SADC's efforts to promote and sustain democracy in the region in general and Madagascar in particular."

The agreements reached last year were "the only viable framework for a consensual, inclusive, neutral and transparent transition in Madagascar," the communique said. It called on all Malagasy political movements to return to talks immediately to work towards a compromise to resolve the country's political crisis.

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