African Union welcomes Madagascar back after power handover

Madagascar was isolated following a coup in 2009

The African Union, AU, lifted its suspension of Madagascar’s membership on Monday after a new president took office, following the island’s first election since a coup five years ago.

Madagascar was plunged into diplomatic isolation and donors froze direct aid worth 40 per cent of the Indian Ocean Island’s budget when Andry Rajoelina grabbed power with military backing in 2009.

It said on Saturday, Mr. Rajoelina handed the presidency to Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former Finance Minister, after a presidential and parliamentary election.

As a result of completion of the transition process and restoration of constitutional order, the AU decided to lift the suspension of Madagascar’s participation in its activities. However, the international lenders may not be ready to act just yet.

The World Bank said it wanted to see the formation of a new government before it would resume normal relations and give budget support.

The Malagasy authorities are yet to release official results of the legislative election, which was held on the same day as the runoff of the presidential vote on December 20.

(Reuters/NAN)

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