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Madagascar’s Rajoelina Reappoints Vital as Prime Minister

Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina reappointed Camille Vital as prime minister of the country’s transitional government that aims to end a two-year political and economic crisis.

Vital was chosen after Rajoelina “thought hard and looked at all the aspects of the situation,” the president told reporters today in Antananarivo, the capital. All nominations for the post from other political parties were taken into account, he said. One of the main opposition groups described the appointment as “farce.”

Vital’s government resigned last week after eight of 11 political parties signed an agreement to form a new administration that will take the country to elections either late this year or early in 2012. The Indian Ocean island nation has been in crisis since Rajoelina, then mayor of the capital, ousted Marc Ravalomanana with the help of the military in 2009, leading to its suspension from the South African Development Community and the African Union, and for donors to stop aid.

The road map, proposed by regional grouping SADC, called for Rajoelina to stay as president and for him to choose the prime minister after consulting all parties that agreed to the pact. Two of the three main opposition groups, led by former presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy, refused to agree. The party led by Ravalomanana, who has been in exile in South Africa for two years, said last week it will probably sign the agreement.

The appointment deserved the support of the international community as it followed consultation with all the participating parties, Vital said in an interview in Antananarivo.

The process to choose the new prime minister was flawed and showed Rajoelina continued to make unilateral decisions, Lalatiana Ravalolomanana, a spokeswoman for Ravalomanana’s party, said by phone.

Madagascar, with a $9 billion economy, is the world’s largest vanilla grower, while oil, nickel and titanium products have also attracted investor interest.

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