Madagascar rivals to hold follow-up talks
27 July 2012
Malagasy political rivals Andry Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana will hold follow-up talks in the coming weeks after this week's talks, facilitated by South African President Jacob Zuma, fell short of a solution for the east African island nation's political future.
This week's meeting, held in the Seychelles, saw transitional president Andry Rajoelina and the man he toppled, Marc Ravalomanana, meeting face to face for the first time since Rajoelina left the island for exile in South Africa in 2009.
The Southern African Development Community's (SADC's) Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, headed by Zuma, said in a statement after the meeting that the presence of the two leaders was a clear indication of their commitment towards finding a lasting solution to end the political crisis in the country.
"Discussions were cordial and the participants displayed good leadership," the statement read. "All the parties were satisfied with the progress that had been made in bringing H.E Andry Rajoelina and H.E Marc Ravalomanana together in search for a lasting political solution in Madagascar."
In June, an SADC summit held in Angola called on the troika to facilitate an urgent meeting between Ravalomanana and Rajoelina to discuss the implementation of a roadmap signed by Madagascar's political parties in September last year. South Africa is the current chair of the troika.
The Indian Ocean island has been mired in political crisis since Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in March 2009 with the army's backing.
Former President Ravalomanana and Rajoelina became political rivals in December 2008 when Ravalomanana, then the president, closed the Viva television station (owned by Rajoelina) for broadcasting a speech by Ravalomanana's predecessor.
Rajoelina, mayor of Antananarivo from December 2007 to March 2009, led a massive demonstration against Ravalomanana.
Abandoned by the army, Ravalomanana gave up his power to the military on 17 March 2009 and later the military transferred the presidency to Rajoelina.
Rajoelina officially took the power on 21 March of that year, while Ravalomanana fled to exile in South Africa.
Although the two have agreed to restore peace - under the auspices of the SADC roadmap - power sharing remains a hot issue between the political rivals, and the transitional government is currently led, in a fragile joint coalition, by supporters of both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana.