Madagascar To Reject Return Of Political Exiles

The world’s largest vanilla producer was plunged into political crisis in 2009 when Andry Rajoelina, backed by the military, seized power from Ravalomanana.

“President Andry Rajoelina convened his allies this afternoon … there is no question of Mr Ravalomanana making a return,” the source told Reuters.

Rajoelina is expected to hold a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon to pronounce the government’s position.

Ravalomanana is in exile in South Africa and was restricted from returning home in February. He said Rajoelina’s government blocked his departure.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which had stood firmly behind Ravalomanana in the months after his overthrow, switched its stance and swung behind Rajoelina.

It was not clear if its call for Ravalomanana to be allowed to return to the Indian Ocean island indicated a softening towards the self-made millionaire.

“(The) summit also urged the High Transition Authority to allow Malagasy people in exile for political reasons to be allowed to return to the country unconditionally including Mr. Marc Ravalomanana,” the Southern African Development Community said in a statement issued on Monday following a weekend summit.

The statement, issued after a meeting of regional leaders in Johannesburg, also called on the political role players to create an inclusive process to hold free and fair elections. Reuters