In the previous post on Madagascar I said that it looked as if the transition process was back on track. I spoke too soon.
The protagonists had met in Addis Ababa and agreed a power-sharing arrangement, including the distribution of the major political posts between the four main groups. There was then due to be another meeting in Maputo last week to determine the rest of the positions. However, Andry Rajoelina, the leader of the coup and the current President of the Transition, refused to attend. Moreover, he then refused to allow the three former presidents who did go to Maputo and the consensus prime minister of the Transition to return to Antananarivo.
Anyway, increasingly isolated externally and with his opinion poll ratings dropping internally, Jeune Afrique reports that yesterday Rajoelina announced that legislative elections would be held on 20 March 2010. This is much earlier than expected. Rajoelina says that the Assembly will serve for five years.
Obviously, this decision raises all sorts of issues. What is the constitutional status of the Assembly? What is the status of the Addis Ababa agreement, which outlined quite a detailed set of institutional arrangements? How can there be a free legislative election if all the opposition leaders are not allowed in the country? If Rajoelina’s power is slipping away, will there be an internal revolt?