Madagascar lobbies for African support on election plan
Madagascar's self-declared president Andry Rajoelina said Tuesday he is focused on preparing for elections later this year, as he toured the region to lobby for support for his plan.
Rajoelina met late Monday with South African President Jacob Zuma, who is in the region ahead of a summit Friday in Namibia, where African leaders will consider ways out of the two-year crisis on the Indian Ocean island.
"We need to have elections sometime between May and November this year," he told AFP in an interview.
"An independent electoral commission is in place and an electoral court is being established," he said.
"Once all this has been accomplished, then I will decide whether or not to be a candidate in that election," he added.
"President Zuma listened attentively to our call for an election this year. We are grateful for the opportunity to set out the realities of the situation," Rajeolina said.
Zuma's office has yet to issue a statement on the meeting.
The impoverished island nation fell into crisis after the army-backed Rajoelina, then mayor of the capital Antananarivo, ousted his predecessor Marc Ravalomanana in 2009.
Ravalomanana has been living in exile in South Africa, and has rejected the "roadmap" that eight parties initialed in March, recognising Rajoelina as transitional president until new elections.
It gives no deadline for the polls, saying the electoral timetable would be determined together with the electoral commission and the United Nations.
Rajoelina is drumming up support for his election plan ahead of a special summit by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, whose mediator proposed the deal initialed in March.
Rajoelina said he has no plans to meet with Ravalomanana in South Africa. He was leaving Tuesday for Angola to meet with President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
© 2011 AFP