Madagascar: Rajoelina appoints a 'consensus' prime minister By RIVONALA RAZAFISON in Antananarivo | Saturday, October 29  2011 at  11:29

Jean Omer Beriziky, the new prime minister of Madagascar Photo | RIVONALA RAZAFISON  

Madagascar’s transitional president Andry Rajoelina appointed Jean Omer Beriziky as prime minister to lead the current unity government.

Mr Beriziky was chosen as a consensual choice from a list of 15 candidates.

The official announcement was made on Friday by midnight at the State palace in the capital city Antananarivo.

“I’d like to emphasise that there has never been any pressure at all or any influence in the process of appointing the Premier,” the President Rajoelina stated at the ceremony attended by different stakeholders international observers.

The appointment is part of the implementation process of the roadmap signed in September by various Malagasy political groups.

One of the conditions of the roadmap was that the prime minister would not belong to any grouping connected to President Rajoelina. Additionally, he was not to come from the same province as that of the serving leader.

Mr Beriziky’s appointment was proposed by the camp of former president Albert Zafy, who is now a radical opponent of Rajoelina.

Cohabitation

The new premier once served as to Brussels when Mr Zafy was in power.

Observers believe President Rajoelina was forced to pick Mr Beriziky as prime minister in the expectation that this would unblock €360 million the European Union has frozen since the 2009 coup.

It would seem partisans of toppled president Marc Ravalomanana, who has been living in exile in South Africa, were not pleased with the appointment.

They argued the process stipulating full approval of the main opposition wasn’t respected.

Despite the fact he was proposed by the Zafy camp, he is officially the third deputy chairman of the party called Leader-Fanilo which supports President Rajoelina.

Ms Lantosoa Razafimahaleo, the spouse of the party’s founder, has been a faithful special advisor of the president since he took power more or less illegally.

Nonetheless, the prime minister has to deal with serious pending questions. The biggest of them is the peaceful return of the African island nation to constitutional normalcy through a democratic and transparent election.

He has until November 17 to give direction on this.

Still, analysts are not sure that the Malagasy “cohabitation” will resolve the post-2009 political crisis in Madagascar that has become a headache to the Southern African Development Community (SADC).