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Madagascar: A Changing of the Guard?

The Madagascar crisis may have reached a major turning point: the beginning of the end of the President Marc Ravalomanana's regime. While there is still confusion about who is currently in charge, the army seems to have chosen to stand with former mayor Andry Rajoelina.  The prime minister's office, as well as the national TV, are now under Rajoelina's control. Twitterers in Madagascar described events as they unfolded.

On Saturday, it started with Rajoelina's appointed prime minister, Monja Roindefo, walking into Prime Minister Charles Rabemananjara's offices and taking control of the building (fr) as reported by Virginie.  He declared then that his camp was now in control of the country. Later in the morning, Re_Hita reports that Rajoelina, who has been in hiding for the past week, came to Place du Mai 13 and demanded that President Ravalomanana resign from office (fr).

A few hours later, malagasy website Topmada posted a statement by the government denying that the opposition was in control and stating that they are still planning to organize negotiations between the rival sides (fr).

At Place du 13 Mai, Jacques Sylla, leader of the parliament, took the stage with Rajoelina and called him the new leader of the nation (mg).

Barijaona wrote that Rajoelina denied during his speech that he wanted to end Ravalomanana's life and reiterated that he would not send the army into the presidential palace because he wanted to avoid a blood bath. Indeed, a report from Cyril Vanier at the palace states that a few hundred people have staged a sit-in in front of the palace to protect the president.

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Thierry posted that an ultimatum was sent by Rajoelina for the president to resign within 4 hours.

In the meantime Virginie wrote that looters entered the presidential palace, currently vacant because Ravalomanana is at his residence in Iavoloha.

4 hours later, the ultimatum passed without Ravalomanana's resignation. Thierry reported that the army would not attack the presidential palace.

On Sunday, the Malagasy blogosphere waited with anxiety for further developments and were quite unsure as to who is really in charge.

Ravalomanana offered a referendum as a potential exit to the crisis and warned his followers that “the crisis is not only between Malagasy people” (fr).

Arinaina suspects that the national radio frequency has been pirated yet again.

Barijoana and Re_Hita watched the first television news on a now Rajoelina-controlled national television channel. Barijaona notices that even though it featured the speech by Ravalomanana and his refusal to quit, his call for a referendum was cut out of the speech (fr).

The news also featured former members of the presidential guards (who quit the day before) and who now have joined the army. DotMG reports that the former guard called for the removal, by force if necessary, of the civilians sitting in front of the palace.  The former guards also reported the presence of mercenaries and armed civilians.

8 comments

  • Steven

    This is deeply troubling news. Andry is going to find out very quickly that the alleged 50,000,000 in support that he supposedly has isn’t going to go very far when the US and other foreign aid organizations pull out of the country. There is over half a billion dollars in aid from the US alone. And the US does not like un-democratic take-overs of governments from dewy eyed 34 year olds. I can’t believe its come to this. What are people thinking?

  • Ben

    I am extremely upset by this turn of events.

    No matter which side you support, this is terrible news (unfortunately for Madagascar, it is the continuation of a cycle of abuse of power that will only continue as long as those in power continue to flout the rule of law). A Malagasy blogger previously wrote about the people’s power to “take back” power legally invested in the government. Such action carries with it dangerous repercussions that are only outweighed by heinous abuse of power. When one person can categorically declare that he represents the voice of the people, and yet the people have not spoken through democratic means (elections or referendums, for instance), then his voice is usually that of a tyrant. Andry’s actions are the antithesis of democracy.

  • […] Antananarivo is currently the stage of dramatic events involving the Malagasy army and the politics … […]

  • Zozo

    We are fed up over here, I mean for us malagasy people who live outside the country. We are fed up with this stupid manifestation that Andry Rajoelina is leading. He is just leading the people to suffer, and by pretending to be the one who is gonna bring up the democracy I think he should think twice about what he is doing by taking brutally and by force the ministries and the prime minister palace.
    He is abusing the small population which is in need. He uses them!!! Stop using the weakness of people it’s not only in Madagascar we can find the effect of the financial crises , It’s all other the planet
    Unfortunately, If ‘it goes on like this Madagascar is gonna perish more than ever!!

  • […] may have come to an end.  Yesterday, after attempts by Andry Rajoelina supporters to remove President Marc Ravalomanana from office, the army, which has now sided with Rajoelina, took control of the presidential palace […]

  • Rachel Page

    Madagascar has been in trouble since 2009 when President Marc
    Ravalomanana fled to South Africa after failing to suppress a revolt
    against his rule. San Antonio Bankruptcy Attorney Reviews

  • Karen Patrick

    Madagascar is one of the world’s most unusual countries — an iconic
    “hotspot” in every sense of the word. It has also been the site of
    devastating poverty and environmental destruction, accelerated in recent
    years by an ineffective, corrupt government.

    Karen

  • Jenna Major

    Madagascar was already among the poorest countries in the world and the crisis has only made matters worse. The crisis is diverting attention from the crucial challenges the country needs to face and mortgaging the future of Malagasy citizens. From a strictly developmental point of view, a political resolution of the crisis is urgently needed.

    Jenna

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