Madagascar exiled president to return

Last Updated: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 16:19

Johannesburg: Former Madagascan president Marc Ravalomanana, ousted in a 2009 coup, said he will return to the island nation on Saturday to promote dialogue and help prepare for elections.

"I am the democratically elected and constitutional president of Madagascar," he told a news conference on Thursday in South Africa, where he has been in exile.

Ravalomanana said the rule of Andry Rajoelina, the Army-backed opposition leader who ousted him in a coup in March 2009, was illegal and it was time for him to return home.

"I am going back to start (a) genuine dialogue, which is desperately needed," he said.

"Only a truly national consensus, forged by the Malagasy people, through direct talks in our own country, can restore us to democracy -- and can ensure that nobody can ever seize power illegally in Madagascar again," he said.

A Madagascan minister however warned on Wednesday that Ravalomanana would be arrested if he returned.

He was last year sentenced in absentia to life in prison and hard labour for the death of 30 opposition protesters killed by presidential guards as they attempted to march on the presidential palace on February 07, 2009.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, February 17, 2011 - 16:19

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