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President announces new Madagascar government after court order

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Hery Rajaonarimampianina, president of Madagascar, says a new government has been appointed after a court ruling which required a “consensus” administration to resolve a crisis sparked by electoral reform.

The Indian Ocean nation has been rocked by protests initially called against new electoral laws the opposition said were aimed at barring their candidates from taking part in elections scheduled for later this year.

The demonstrations then snowballed into demands for the president to step down.

The protests led to the Constitutional Court ordering Rajaonarimampianina to form a government of national unity with a “consensus prime minister” to avert a full-blown crisis.

On June 4 he appointed non-partisan technocrat Christian Ntsay, 57, as prime minister as part of a deal with a section of the opposition to obey the court ruling.

“The government of [Prime Minister] Christian Ntsay has now been put in place after several rounds of negotiations,” Rajaonarimampianina told reporters on Monday at his official residence.

Ntsay is not a member of any political party and is known as an international expert in labour management and leadership, previously serving as Madagascar’s tourism minister between 2002 and 2003.

“Speaking to the prime minister and the ministers, I say: The eyes of the nation and the whole world are on you,” added Rajaonarimampianina.

Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, despite reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals.

A 2009 coup staged by the capital’s mayor led to international condemnation and scared off foreign investors.

[source: Al Jazeera]
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