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MADAGASCAR FORMER DISC JOCKEY HAT PRESIDENT A RAJOELINA PROMISES .... the poll will be "free, fair and transparent following a Dec 09 unilateral decision...so the saga plods on ..reports the AFP.
February 25, 2010

[Diocese of Antsiranana - Indian Ocean] Madagascar's strongman Andry Rajoelina, in a televised address Thursday said he planned to go ahead with the legislative elections he decided upon unilaterally in December.

"We remain convinced that the only way to lift Madagascar out of the current crisis is by holding elections," said Rajoelina, promising the poll will be "free, fair and transparent."

He said he wants to hold broad-based consultations next week to find a consensus on ways out of the island's current crisis, which started in March 2009 when former disc jockey Rajoelina seized power from then president Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the military.

Mediators, including representatives from the European Union (EU) and the UN, are trying to get Rajoelina and three rival political factions to implement a power-sharing deal.

The African Union (AU) has given Rajoelina until March 16 to implement the power-sharing deal or face sanctions.

Rajoelina called a meeting for 4 and 5 March where the island's political groups and civil society associations must "seek the means to get out of this crisis, which has lasted too long".

Earlier Thursday the island's new foreign minister said the internationally- backed accord reached in Maputo will not solve the year-old political crisis in Madagascar.

"In am not in favour of Maputo in its current format," Hyppolite Raharison Ramaroson said in an interview.

"The International Contact Group has been around for eight months but where are the results? It's proven that Maputo is not the solution," he added.

Rajoelina's speech was a response to the African Union (AU), which has given Madagascar until March 16 to implement the Maputo power-sharing deal signed in August by the island's four main political groups, including Rajoelina's.

Rajoelina and his supporters however argue that the African Union should change its stance on the issue.

In his speech Rajoelina failed to even mention the Maputo deal, referring only to "the failure of attempts to find a way out of the crisis under the auspices of the international community."

Last week mediator Joaquim Chissano -- a former president of Mozambique -- said rival parties were not putting enough effort into implementing the power-sharing deal and singled out the camp of Rajoelina for particular criticism.