March 16, 2011 / 10:06 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-Madagascar opposition slams re-appointment of PM

* Nomination flouts new plan to end crisis - opposition

* PM says new government should be formed in 10 days

(Recasts with opposition reaction, adds quotes)

By Alain Iloniaina

ANTANANARIVO, March 16 (Reuters) - Madagascar’s leader re-appointed General Camille Vital as prime minister on Wednesday, but at least one opposition party rejected the move saying it flouted a new plan to end a political crisis.

The government resigned last week to pave the way for a broad-based administration, in line with a road map backed by mediators from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) designed to end a two-year political impasse.

Eight out of 11 political groups in Madagascar have initialled the proposal which allows President Andry Rajoelina, who grabbed power with military support in March 2009, to remain in power until free and fair elections are held.

However, Rajoelina’s main rivals have said they will only back the plan if key posts in the government and the electoral commission are shared out fairly among the parties. Vital is widely considered a key ally of Rajoelina.

“We don’t back his nomination. His nomination does not respect the road map. He is close to Rajoelina and has shown as much,” Fetison Andrianirina, a senior member of ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana’s political movement told Reuters.

It was doubtful whether the international community would accept Vital’s nomination, Andrianirina said.

Moments after his re-appointment, Vital, who played no role in Ravalomanana’s overthrow and was first appointed prime minister in December 2009, said a new government should be formed within ten days.

ANOTHER SUMMIT?

“I am neither a politician nor a member of any political body. I am a soldier and I will not be a candidate in the various upcoming elections,” Vital said in a statement on Tuesday after meeting Rajoelina.

The political deadlock has hammered Madagascar’s economy after donors froze budgetary support worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Government spending dried up and private investment slowed sharply in the aftermath of the power grab.

The nickel and cobalt producing island was in the process of setting up an interim administration agreed upon by all parties said Vital, who added he foresaw no objections from foreign powers.

The presidency said 36-year-old Rajoelina, a former mayor of Antananarivo, had consulted with seven candidates, including names put forward by fringe opposition parties who signed up to the road map, before giving the nod to Vital.

Under the proposal, Rajoelina will also appoint a cabinet from a list of names recommended by the signatory parties.

Numerous power-sharing agreements have been signed by Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and two other former presidents to end the political deadlock, but all have come unstuck over how to share out key jobs.

“The three (opposition) movements demand a summit including the four political party heads (Rajoelina and former leaders), with the road map serving as a starting point for negotiations,” Andrianirina said. (Writing by Richard Lough; editing by David Clarke)

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