November 21, 2011 / 7:12 PM / 7 years ago

Madagascar names new government, opposition rejects

* New government seen as next step to elections

* Opposition says move is illegal

ANTANANARIVO, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Madagascar’s president named a new government on Monday, but the opposition immediately rejected the cabinet as illegal, throwing into question a road map towards an election next year.

The previous interim government resigned in October as part of a move required under the terms of a political deal signed by the Indian Ocean island’s main political parties that is meant to pave the way for the election.

All but one of Madagascar’s three main opposition parties signed the agreement, which diplomats said should make way for donor nations to formally recognise President Andry Rajoelina’s leadership for the first time since he seized power from Marc Ravalomanana in 2009.

One of the conditions agreed by the island’s main parties for the new cabinet was that the prime minister was to come from a different party to Rajoelina, but the opposition says that has been flouted by the appointment of his party colleague Omer Beriziky.

“The consensus prime minister will lead us to real elections, guarantee the security of the country, ease the difficulties of the people and restore the confidence of donors,” Rajoelina told a news conference in the capital Antananarivo.

Ravalomanana, who is in exile in South Africa, said he would not accept the latest move by the Rajoelina.

“We won’t enter this process,” Ravalomanana told reporters by telephone from South Africa. “We don’t want to be complicit in anything illegal.”

A close ally to Ravalomanana, Mamy Rakotoarivelo, said that under the terms of the road map, the president and prime minister were meant to hail from different political affiliations.

Madagascar has been hit by political instability and an economic slowdown since Rajoelina overthrew Ravalomanana. (Reporting Alain Iloniaina; Writing by Richard Lough and Goerge Obulutsa; Editing by George Obulutsa and Alison Williams)

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