ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar named Kolo Christophe Laurent Roger, a radiologist who lived abroad for decades, as its new prime minister on Friday, as part of a process aimed at ending prolonged political turmoil on the Indian Ocean island.
Kolo, 70, faces a big challenge reviving the mineral-rich island’s economy, which has slumped since a 2009 military coup.
President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took office in January, has pledged to woo foreign investors and tourists to Madagascar, which is famed for its exotic wildlife and also boasts nickel, cobalt, coal, iron ore and uranium deposits.
“(Roger Kolo) was proposed by 12 parties with 93 members (backing him). The majority required by the constitution was easily exceeded,” Rajaonarimampianina told a news conference announcing the choice.
“If I took so much time to name him, it’s because I listened to many parties,” he added.
In Madagascar, the president wields most power, while the prime minister’s job is to run day-to-day affairs of government and to implement the president’s policies and orders.
However, the World Bank has said its resumption of normal lending would hinge on the appointment of a new prime minister.
The International Monetary Fund restored ties with Madagascar in March. External financing made up 40 percent of the island’s budget until donors withdrew aid after rebel troops led by former disc jockey Andry Rajoelina seized power in 2009.
Rajoelina has been at the heart of a power struggle that stoked five years of turmoil in the island nation. He was barred from standing in December’s presidential election under the terms of a peace deal brokered by regional African states.
Kolo, who returned to Madagascar last year after spending more than 30 years abroad and who ran a radiology practice in Switzerland, was barred from contesting the presidential election because of residency rules.
Rajoelina ruled out seeking the post of prime minister for himself in February, a decision that was seen easing political divisions that had driven away investors and hurt the economy.
Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by George Obulutsa