April 10, 2016 / 6:36 PM / 3 years ago

Madagascar president names new PM after resignation confusion

Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina delivers a speech for the opening day of the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, November 30, 2015. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar’s president has appointed the interior minister as the new prime minister, an official in the president’s office said, two days after a confused announcement over the resignation of the previous premier.

On Friday, the president’s office had said Prime Minister Jean Ravelonarivo and his cabinet had resigned - only for Ravelonarivo to say he had done no such thing.

In a statement on Sunday, Roger Ralala, secretary general of the presidency, said Solonandrasana Olivier Mahafaly had been appointed prime minister and head of government.

Ravelonarivo took office in the Indian Ocean island nation in January 2015 after public frustration with power cuts, rampant unemployment and a stagnant economy forced out the previous administration.

But in July the opposition group Mapar filed a censure motion, saying it was frustrated by the slow pace of change.

Ralala said President Hery Rajaonarimampianina wanted to “move forward” but acknowledged Ravelonarivo had yet to hand in a resignation letter.

Madagascar has struggled to rebuild since a 2009 coup that scared off donors and foreign investors.

Donors resumed lending to Madagascar after successful elections in 2013 ended a political crisis and Rajaonarimampianina took office in January 2014.

Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Ros Russell

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