ADDIS ABABA, Sept 10 (Reuters) - The African Union on Thursday condemned Madagascar’s Andry Rajoelina’s decision to appoint a new government and said it may impose sanctions on the authorities and their supporters.
The Indian Ocean island, rich in oil and minerals, has been rocked by turmoil since Rajoelina toppled former President Marc Ravalomanana from power in a March coup, scaring tourists, alarming investors and hurting the economy.
Under the terms of a deal agreed last month in Mozambique, the country’s power-brokers were supposed to share out the top posts of president, vice president and prime minister to see the world’s fourth largest island through to presidential polls.
But with the rivals still deadlocked, Rajoelina’s prime minister pressed ahead and made 31 appointments on Tuesday, keeping himself and Rajoelina in their posts.
The AU’s Peace and Security Council met in Ethiopia on Thursday and was briefed by the AU envoy to Madagascar.
“Council expressed its deep concern at the sudden rise of tension in Madagascar following the unilateral decision made by the de facto authorities to establish what was termed a Government of National Unity without the participation of other political movements,” the AU said in a statement.
The opposition and Southern African leaders have already refused to recognise the new administration, which Rajoelina says will work towards establishing a fourth republic ahead of presidential elections.
“Council decided to meet later to assess the evolution of the situation in Madagascar with a view to taking appropriate measures, including targeted sanctions against the de facto authorities and their supporters,” the AU said.
It did not detail what sanctions it was considering, nor when the meeting would take place.
When a military junta seized power in Mauritania, the African Union imposed measures including the denial of visas, travel restrictions and the freezing of assets belonging to individuals blamed for the power grab. (Editing by David Clarke and Matthew Jones)