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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 11:11 GMT 12:11 UK
Madagascar crisis reaches endgame
Didier Ratsiraka
The power struggle began after disputed elections

The former president of Madagascar, Didier Ratsiraka, has left the Seychelles for France, along with his entourage of family members and supporters.

Marc Ravalomanana
Ratsiraka's rival now has the backing of France and the US
He is believed to be heading into exile after the French Government recognised his rival as the new president, and following military defeats around the country.

President Marc Ravalomanana's troops are on their way to Mr Ratsiraka's former heartland in the east of the country.

They are expected to take control of the last of the six provinces loyal to the veteran leader.

French role

Didier Ratsiraka and his entourage of 20 aides and members of his close family left the Seychelles on a scheduled flight, and are expected to arrive in Paris on Sunday.

The former president flew to the Seychelles from Madagascar on Friday, after taking an unplanned flight from his eastern stronghold of Tamatave.

Two planeloads of his supporters and government ministers also left the island.

Although Mr Ratsiraka has not made a statement, it is widely accepted that he has chosen to go into exile and give up his claim to the presidency, which has devastated the country and brought the economy to its knees over the past seven months.

His departure is thought to have been prompted by the decision by his former ally, France, to recognise his rival as the new president, and by Mr Ravalomanana's military victories in five of the island's six provinces.

Soldiers loyal to President Ravalomanana are making their way to Tamatave, where they will be met by white flags and a population relieved that the crisis appears to have come to an end.


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05 Jul 02 | Africa
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