Madagascar to hold presidential elections in November

FILE PHOTO - Madagascar's newly appointed Prime Minister Christian Ntsay speaks to the media during his handover ceremony in Antananarivo, Madagascar June 6, 2018. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar will hold the first round of presidential elections in November with the second round due in December, the prime minister said on Friday, after a court ordered the president to form a consensus government.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina named a new cabinet and promised free elections in June, responding to the order of the court, which had sought to resolve a political crisis.

A 2009 coup prompted an exodus of foreign investors from Madagascar, which remains one of the world’s poorest countries despite reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals.

The island’s latest political crisis was triggered in April by a legal amendment that would have prevented former President Marc Ravalomanana from standing for office.

In May, Rajaonarimampianina approved a new law removing that provision, and the Constitutional Court ordered him to dissolve his government and appoint a new prime minister with the support of all parties.

The first round will be held on Nov. 7 with the second round on Dec. 19, Prime Minister Christian Ntsay told reporters on Friday.

Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Peter Graff