Madagascar’s power sharing deal fragile – analysts

Source: Reuters

* Analysts say power brokers should put self interests aside * Maputo blueprint will help restore relations with donors * Concern over transition period, role of army By Richard Lough ANTANANARIVO, Aug 10 (Reuters) – The success of a power-sharing deal to end months of political turmoil in Madagascar hinges on an equitable sharing of power and a swift return to the rule of law, analysts said on Monday. Feuding leaders from the Indian Ocean island reached an agreement in Mozambique on Sunday to establish a consensus government ahead of elections and cancelled charges of abuse of office levelled against toppled leader Marc Ravalomanana. [ID:nL9580205] The crisis cut economic growth, scared away tourists and alarmed foreign investors in Madagascar’s minerals mining and nascent oil sectors. [ID:nL9712518] But analysts said the deal was fragile and the power-brokers would have to put aside their own interests for it to work. “It is possible to imagine a government of national unity, but the idea of individuals who have gone this far saying ‘I renounce what I have gained for country’s best interests’ is perhaps naive,” said Madagascar expert, Stephen Ellis, professor of African Studies at Free University Amsterdam. The constitutional charter, signed after five days of talks mediated by former Mozambican president Joaquim Chissano, paves the way for a transitional president of the transition, a prime minister, three deputy prime ministers and 28 ministers. It also promised a presidential poll within 15 months. Ravalomanana, previously accused of abusing political office to further his business interests, said he would not play a direct role in the transition but did not rule out contesting a future presidential vote. SHARING THE CAKE It remained unclear how the four main political movements would divide power — a possible stumbling block to a smooth transition towards a fresh poll. “The transition period until the elections may prove disappointing as political leaders attempt to block their rivals’ actions and therefore paralyse government action,” said Lydie Boka at the risk consultancy, StrategieCo. A diplomatic source said former disc-jockey Andry Rajoelina, 35, was expected to meet his predecessor and former presidents Didier Ratsiraka, 73, and Albert Zafy, 82, for a second time within two weeks to divide up the posts. Questions also hang over how an eventual election will be organised, how it will be funded and who will be eligible to stand. Under the previous constitution Rajoelina was five years too young to be president. Analysts say the agreed blueprint will help diplomatically isolated Madagascar restore ties with donors who had frozen aide and the international community at large. “I believe the international community is ready to step in and help finance elections,” said one Western diplomat in Madagascar’s capital Antananarivo told Reuters. Questions will also be asked of the military’s stance after it played king-maker in Rajoelina’s ascent to power. “They said they would not recognise any deal in Maputo. They were adamant about Ravalomanana not coming back,” the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

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