Madagascar's Vice Prime Minister Resigns

Its diplomatically isolated leader, Andry Rajoelina, risks sanctions and the possible cancellation of critical foreign aid if he fails to compromise on a road map for holding elections that appeases opposition leaders, regional neighbours and donor nations.

A source close to Andriamanjato told Reuters the deputy premier, who is also foreign affairs minister, told Rajoelina there would be no international recognition of the former disc jockey’s leadership, nor a resolution to the crisis, without the establishment of a unity government ahead of any ballot.

“The vice Prime Minister supports the position of the international community. Furthermore, he feels the signals (from government) are heading in a different direction,” the source told Reuters late on Thursday.

“The VPM charged with foreign affairs, Ny Hasina Andriamanjato, handed in his letter of resignation on February 10 to Andry Rajoelina.”

A spokeswoman for the president’s office said on Friday that the resignation had been accepted, but did not comment further.

Rajoelina’s administration is split over the need to bow to pressure from the African Union and European Union, both of which are set to discuss imposing sanctions on Madagascar.

Moderates in the government argue Africa’s youngest leader needs international support and stability to reboot the stagnant economy and soothe the fears of foreign investors, analysts say.

Overseas investment surged to around $1.47 billion in 2008 from $86 million in 2005 as companies including Rio Tinto and Sherritt International poured money into the extraction and exploration of Madagascar’s oil and mineral resources.

But analysts say inflows slumped during last year after Rajoelina toppled former leader Marc Ravalomanana with military support, triggering months of leadership squabbles. –  Reuters