afrol News, 18 May - The announcement of Madagascar's de fact leader Andry Rajoelina to organise elections where he will not stand as candidate seems to have been well received by his rival, ousted President Marc Ravalomanana. New talks to end the crisis have now been announced.
Ex-President Ravalomanana has been silent since Mr Rajoelina's announcement more than one week ago. The ex-leader last week declined answering questions by afrol News about how he reacted to Mr Rajoelina's offer not to stand as candidate in elections announced for the end of this year.
Now, the ousted Malagasy leader however has issues a statement addressing the population of Madagascar. "I believe that it is time for all of us, the political actors in Madagascar, to put aside our personal interest and to put your interest ... before our own interest," Mr Ravalomanana says.
"With this in mind, I am committed to attending the Pretoria II mediation effort," the Malagasy ex-President announces. These mediations, a continuation of last month's failed talks in South Africa, are coming on the initiative of Mozambican ex-President Joaquin Chissano, who mediates the Malagasy crisis on behalf of the African Union (AU).
Mr Ravalomanana adds that the aim of the upcoming talks in Pretoria will be to "set the path for free, fair and credible elections." As soon as such elections are held, the process of lifting international sanctions would start "as soon as possible."
Interestingly, Mr Ravalomanana is changing his rhetoric radically in this new statement. Earlier statements by the ex-President have mostly attacked Mr Rajoelina fiercely, giving him and his 2009 coup the sole responsibility for the current crisis in Madagascar. In this statement, the rhetoric is rather humble.
"This is not the time to blame any single person for the political crisis," Mr Ravalomanana says. "All of us political leaders have to take responsibility for this crisis and I accept responsibility for my part in this," he adds.
The humble tone may indicate that Mr Ravalomanana and Mr Rajoelina are in the process of reaching consensus. The new rhetoric comes as other Malagasy opposition groups loudly are demanding tougher steps against Mr Rajoelina's coup regime, including an indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) over alleged "crimes against humanity". The ICC is currently considering a large amount of documentation regarding the Malagasy crisis.
While Mr Rajoelina is the main target of this radicalising opposition, also ex-Presidents including Mr Ravalomanana are increasingly held responsible for the political violence that have shaken the Great Island.
It would therefore not be surprising if the Pretoria talks will include an amnesty for Madagascar's political leadership over the last years.
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