Madagascar – New PM

Madagascar’s return to democracy looks almost as far away as ever. Even though strenuous efforts have been made to reconcile the various opposing forces since the coup in February 2009, there is still no timetable for elections and almost every decision is contested.

In theory, the SADC has brokered a road map for democratization between the four competing forces. This was signed in September. There are details here. The road map itself is available in French here.

One of the first elements of the agreement was the resignation of the incumbent PM, Camille Vital, who was appointed by Andry Rajoelina who led the coup against former president Marc Ravalomanana. PM Vital duly resigned last week. He was replaced by Omer Beriziky. PM Beriziky was chosen by Rajoelina.

The problem is that the choice of PM Beriziky is contested by some of the other partners in the road map. Jeune Afrique reports that even though he was appointed as an ambassador to Brussels by former president Albert Zafy and was maintained in position by former president Didier Ratsiraka and by Ravalomanana, who are the other three forces in the transition process alongside Rajoelina, PM Beriziky is a member of the so-called Leader Fanilo group that previously supported Rajoelina’s movement. Therefore, he is not seen as a consensus figure and this contradicts one of the explicit elements of the road map.

To date, the appointment remains, but so does the contestation.

Generally, this situation reflects on the difficult constitutional situation in Madagascar. The constitution was promulgated in December 2010. However, the country is effectively being governed on the basis of the transitional articles in that document. These articles effectively maintain the post-coup status quo. This means that Andry Rajoelina, the President of the High Authority of Transition, the organism that has governed since the coup, still has the power to issue decrees. The road map is an attempt to shape the transition in a way that is acceptable to the other political actors, but with little effect so far.

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