Madagascar leader wary of new election date By RIVONALA RAZAFISON in Antananarivo | Friday, February 8  2013 at  08:34

Andry Rajoelina
Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has reportedly expressed reservations about the new election date saying it would extend the island’s long running political crisis.

This comes after the postponement of the polls by the country’s electoral body.The independent electoral body CENI-T on Tuesday said elections, which had been scheduled for May 8, would now be held on July 24 due to ‘operational difficulties’.

While discussing the political situation of the island nation with French Foreign Affairs minister Laurent Fabius in Paris on Wednesday, Mr Rajoelina pointed out that the new date would extend the transition period and dampen people's spirits.

“The adjournment of the electoral agenda will extend the transition period and is contrary to the Malagasy people aspiration,” he said.

The elections were expected to end a long-running political crisis sparked by a 2009 coup.

The United Nations, which is providing technical support for the polls, endorsed the postponement.

Analysts have pointed out that one of the key challenges is funding for the polls, with the international community expected to stump up a large part of the estimated cost of $71 million.