* AU suspended Madagascar after 2009 coup
* Urges donors to support island's ailing economy
(Adds details, context)
By Alain Iloniaina
ANTANANARIVO, Jan 27 The African Union lifted
its suspension of Madagascar's membership on Monday after a new
president took office following the island's first election
since a coup five years ago.
Madagascar was plunged into diplomatic isolation and donors
froze direct aid worth 40 percent of the Indian Ocean island's
budget when Andry Rajoelina grabbed power with military backing
On Saturday, Rajoelina handed the presidency to Hery
Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister, after
presidential and parliamentary elections took place in calm
conditions last month.
"(The Council) decides, in view of the completion of the
transition process and restoration of constitutional order ...
to lift the suspension of Madagascar's participation in the
activities of the AU," the organisation's Peace and Security
Council (PSC) said in a statement.
The African Union is a pan-continental bloc made up of 54
African states whose stated objectives include promoting peace
and security on the continent, protecting human rights and
encouraging sustainable economic development
The PSC said it had also decided to lift "all other
measures" against Madagascar and urged the international
community to provide support to the nickel-producing economy.
However, international lenders may not be ready to act just
yet. The World Bank told Reuters on Friday it wanted to see the
formation of a new government before it would resume normal
relations and give budget support.
The Malagasy authorities have not yet released official
results of the legislative election, which was held on the same
day as the runoff of the presidential vote on Dec. 20.
(Reporting by Alain Iloniaina and Richard Lough in Nairobi;
Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Gareth Jones)