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Cablegate: Opposition Rejects New Pm, Plans Parallel Government

VZCZCXRO2332
RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHAN #0873/01 3560422
ZNR UUUUU ZZH ANTANANARIVO
R 220422Z DEC 09
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
INFO AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
AMEMBASSY

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 WASHDC 000873

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E MARIA BEYZEROV
PARIS FOR WALLACE BAIN
LONDON FOR PETER LORD

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL MA SF
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION REJECTS NEW PM, PLANS PARALLEL GOVERNMENT

REF: A) 09 ANTANANARIVO 868,
B) 09 ANTANANARIVO 870,
C) 09 ANTANANARIVO 858

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Andry "TGV" Rajoelina has removed all of the
opposition leaders from positions held under the failed Maputo
process, and named a retired army colonel, Albert Camille Vital, as

his new prime minister. The opposition movements announced they
would continue implementing the Maputo Charter of the Transition
without Rajoelina, essentially by forming a parallel government.
Plans to "intensify" protests in Antananarivo have not yet resulted

in any action, and it appeared on December 21 that Rajoelina and his

new PM may attempt to arrest opposition leaders before renewed
street
protests gain any momentum. While most Malagasy desperately hope
that calm will prevail over the holiday season, Rajoelina's call for

a "holiday truce" appears ever less likely to succeed. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Shortly after permitting the Maputo III participants to
return to Madagascar on December 18 (reftel C), Rajoelina issued a
decree (2009/1385) abrogating the nomination of consensus Prime
Minister Euguene Mangalaza, effective immediately. He then
nominated
Vice Prime Minister for the Interior Cecile Manorohanta as interim
Prime Minister, effectively delivering on his mid-week statements
indicating that he would no longer cooperate with Madagascar's other

political movements.

3. (SBU) Opposition leaders were quick to respond, with a press
conference of their own at 20:00 that same night. Former President

Albert Zafy, along with Transition Co-President Fetison Rakoto
Andrianirina and President of the Congress Mamy Rakotoarivelo (both

representing Former President Marc Ravalomanana), reaffirmed their
support for Mangalaza, and denounced Rajoelina's statements from his

December 16 televised speech. They opposed his plan to unilaterally

organize elections in March 2010, and stated that they would instead

continue implementing the Transition Charter, as agreed in Maputo
and
Addis Ababa from August to November. Zafy called on the military to

remain neutral and stay in their barracks, to avoid conflict as the

three movements sought to "install" their new government in the
coming days.

4. (SBU) On December 18, Rajoelina also released an ordinance
(2009/12) abrogating the Charter of the Transition (from Maputo) and

the Additional Act (from Addis Ababa), thus rendering (in his view)

the positions of Co-President, President of the Congress, and
President of the National Reconciliation Council "null and void",
despite opposition claims to the contrary. He also indicated that
there may be legal consequences for the December 18 press
conference;
on December 21, it was widely reported that Mamy Rakotoarivelo had
been called into court for questioning, and rumors of arrest
warrants
for several opposition leaders began circulation again.

5. (SBU) On December 20, Rajoelina named Colonel Albert Camille
Vital
as Prime Minister. Vital is relatively unknown, and claims to have

not met Rajoelina prior to December 20. As a member of the Vezo
ethnic group, from Tulear, he may satisfy those in the south-west
who
were incensed over the October sacking of PM Roindefo Monja (also
from Tulear), but his appointment has little other immediate
benefit.
Vital holds a degree in civil engineering from the USSR, and twice
studied in French military schools, in 1991 and 2001. His highest
military assignment was as Chef de Corps of the First Regiment Fifth

Military in Tulear from 1998 to 2001. He left the military in 2007

to launch a private security company in Tulear, and has been
President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Tulear since

WASHDC 00000873 002 OF 002


2008. He has ties to both the Ratsiraka and Rajoelina political
factions, but has little experience in politics. Vital is rumored
to
have been Rajoelina's third choice, after Rear Admiral Hyppolite
Ramaroson and General Ismael Mounibou.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Consensus Prime Minister Mangalaza has thus far
refused to step down, stating that he is the "prime minister
accepted
by the international community" Q although that claim is unlikely to

help his cause among Rajoelina's movement. Opposition leaders have

announced plans to intensify their rallies at Magro (on the north
side of the city) to protest Rajoelina's recent moves, and leaders
at
today's rally reportedly announced plans to "install" 156 members of

the transition congress on December 22 at the building of the former

National Assembly in Tsimbazaza, in Antananarivo. The next 24 hours

will provide either an opportunity for the opposition to show its
support, or for Rajoelina to steamroller their plans in the name of
a
one-sided "holiday truce". END COMMENT.


MARQUARDT

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