November 8, 2009 / 12:48 PM / in 10 years

Q+A-Will Madagascar's latest power-sharing deal hold?

By Richard Lough

ANTANANARIVO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Yet another power-sharing deal has been brokered between Madagascar’s political rivals following months of turmoil. [ID:nL7167459] But will this one stick? Here are some questions and answers on:



WHAT’S IN THE LATEST AGREEMENT?

* Coup-instigator Andry Rajoelina remains president of Madagascar but he will be flanked by two co-presidents.

* Deposed leader Marc Ravalomanana has named Fetison Andrianirina, a close ally and former head of his negotiation team, as one co-president.

* The other is Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, picked as vice-president in last month’s re-jigging of top jobs. The latest agreement struck in Addis Ababa scrapped the post of vice president.

* Eugene Mangalaza, a relative unknown picked in October, keeps the prime minister’s office. Mangalaza, put forward by exiled former President Didier Ratsiraka, is considered politically neutral.

* Backers of Mangalaza, a social anthropology and philosophy professor, say this suits Madagascar’s needs.

* There will be 31 cabinet posts: six for each of the four political movements and seven for "other political forces".



IS THIS A WIN-WIN SITUATION?

* On the face of it, this is a deal that allows both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana to claim victory.

* Rajoelina, 35, has previously failed to win the international community’s backing after regional blocs suspended the oil and mineral-endowed country. He is now Madagascar’s internationally-recognised leader.

* Ravalomanana, who lives in exile in South Africa, re-enters the arena with a hold on the co-presidency, although he will play no direct role in the transitional government.

* How executive power is shared and exercised between the president and the twin-headed, presidential council will perhaps determine who the bigger winner is.



IS THE CRISIS OVER?

* It is too early to say. The African Union has made clear that Madagascar remains suspended until a consensus government is in place and there is a clear roadmap to elections.

* Earlier power-sharing deals struck by the leaders in Maputo in August, and a subsequent agreement in October, ran into trouble due to political ambition, private interests and debts of loyalty. [ID:nL8454656]

* While Rajoelina says the two new co-presidents merely replaced the previously envisaged vice president, Ravalomanana will probably see them as a check and balance on his successor.

* "I think the deal brokers see the co-presidents as a honorary thing, to flatter egos, and it is Rajoelina who will really be in charge," said Lydie Boka of risk-consultancy group, StrategieCo..

* Cabinet posts could provide another flash-point. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana have both demanded the Ministry of Justice — the initial power-sharing deal called for charges of abuse of office levelled against Ravalomanana to be cancelled.

* Presidential elections are slated for late 2010. The adversaries must now prove that working together comes before jockeying for positions before the ballot.



WILL THE DEAL REVIVE THE ECONOMY?

* The deal will allow donors to resume aid without flouting their own democratic ideals. Some 70 percent of government spending comes from budgetary assistance.

* Some donors, such as France which has maintained close political and business ties since Madagascar’s independence in 1960, are likely to move faster than others, analysts said.

* Others may await free and transparent elections before turning on the taps once more, one western diplomat said.

* Major foreign companies such as mining giants Rio Tinto (RIO.L) (RIO.AX), Sherritt International (S.TO) and oil firms Total (TOTF.PA) and Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) will want to know where this deal leaves Rajoelina’s talk of revising existing contracts.

* Political stability will help Madagascar’s badly hit tourism industry which has been worth $390 million a year. (Editing by David Stamp)




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