Madagascar military hands power to Rajoelina

March 18th, 2009 - 7:12 am ICT by IANS  

Marc Ravalomanana Johannesburg, March 18 (DPA) The military team to whom Madagascar’s President Marc Ravalomanana handed power has transferred that power to opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, who is calling himself president, reports said Tuesday.
The BBC and Malagasy news sites reported that Navy Vice-Admiral Hippolyte Ramaroson Rarison told a press conference that the military team was giving Rajoelina power to become president of a transitional authority.

“We have categorically rejected the authority that Ravalomanana asked us to set up after his resignation,” Ramaroson Rarison was quoted as saying.

Earlier, the opposition said that the Army had arrested the vice-admiral and the other military leaders, accusing them of being the president’s accomplices.

Rajoelina, who was installed in the president’s vacant city-centre offices Monday with the support of the Army, is hoping that Madagascar’s Constitutional Court will sanction his power grab and entrust him with forming an interim government.

He has promised to hold elections within two years.

Ravalomanana’s whereabouts are unknown following his departure from office. The US embassy in Antananarivo has denied providing him with sanctuary.

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