Nov 17 (Reuters) - Madagascar voted on a new constitution on Wednesday as rebel officers declared a takeover of power on the island and the military leadership vowed to crush any rebellion. [ID:LDE6AG19Z]
Below is a timeline of events in the run-up to the vote:
March 17, 2009 - Former President Marc Ravalomanana steps down after weeks of popular protest and violence.
March 21 - Coup instigator Andry Rajoelina sworn in as president.
March 31 - Southern African Development Community suspends Madagascar.
May 8 - IMF freezes Madagascar aid.
June 3 - Ravalomanana is sentenced in absentia to four years in jail for abuse of office.
Aug. 9 - Island’s power brokers sign initial power-sharing deal in Mozambique’s capital Maputo. Three weeks later a second round of talks ends without agreement.
Sept. 4 - Rajoelina unilaterally names Monja Roindefo as prime minister. Days later Roindefo forms a government which African nations are quick to reject.
Oct. 6 - Rajoelina bows to international pressure and sacks Roindefo. Leaders agree on certain key posts.
Oct. 11 - Rajoelina appoints Eugene Mangalaza as a consensus prime minister.
Nov. 7 - An extension to the Maputo deal is signed in Addis Ababa. Rajoelina remains president but is flanked by two co-presidents. There are instant disputes over the division of executive power. The African Union suspension remains.
Dec. 8 - Ravalomanana and former Presidents Didier Ratsiraka and Albert Zafy agree to press ahead with the formation of a unity government. Rajoelina blocks their return to Madagascar.
Dec. 18 - Opposition leaders allowed to return. Rajoelina fires consensus prime minister. Opposition leaders say they will set up unity government within days.
Dec. 20 - Rajoelina appoints army Colonel Vital Albert Camille as new prime minister.
Feb. 12, 2010 - Vice prime minister Ny Hasina Andriamanjato resigns in a sign of growing divisions within the government.
March 17 - The AU imposes sanctions on Rajoelina and 108 others.
May 12 - Rajoelina says he will not contest presidential elections in a bid to end the political crisis.
June 3 - The European Union, the island’s largest donor, announces it will extend its suspension of 600 million euros ($740 million) of development aid for another year.
Aug 14 - Rajoelina signs a deal with dozens of minor parties aimed at ending the political crisis, but the pact is rejected by the country’s main opposition leaders.
Aug. 28 - A Madagascar court sentences deposed leader Ravalomanana in absentia to forced labour for the deaths of dozens of protesters during a Feb. 2009 march on the presidential palace during which 30 people were killed.
Nov 17 - Dissident officers declare a takeover of power in Madagascar, but the island’s military leadership vows to crush any rebellion.
-- Voters cast their ballots in a long awaited referendum on a new constitution. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/ ) (Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit)