Supporters of President Ravalomanana backed his offer of referendum
BBC News website readers in Madagascar have been sending us their reaction to the ongoing power struggle and civil unrest.
Opposition leader Andry Rajoelina has asked security forces to arrest President Marc Ravalomanana.
Up to 100 soldiers have seized a palace in the centre of the capital, Antananarivo, in an operation that the African Union condemned as an "attempted coup d'etat".
Read some of the comments we have received:
The country is going backward, in terms of democracy and development. The majority of the population is silent, and in terror in front of the protest organized by Rajoelina, and its supporters, including the army, who are using violence and terror to get power. The SADC and the African Union should send an army to protect the civilians. It is inadmissible that a "coup d'Etat" still exists in Madagascar in 2009, 50 years after colonization and a military regime under Ratsiraka. An election is the only solution to this crisis.
President Marc Ravalomanana retains a strong base of support
I am 35 and have experienced the struggles for power in 1991, 2002 and again in 2009. What I can say is that, except from 2002 where there were presidential elections, they all have been motivated by a too strong greed on the part of politicians. Once they are in power they forget that they have to work for the country and are only interested in enriching themselves in a short amount of time because they know they won't stay long in power.
Madagascar has always been under the influence of France even since its independence, President Ravalomanana has opened the country to other influences, is it another reason to destitute him?
We, Malagasy people, do not want the civil war the movement of Andry Rajoelina is leading us to. We only want our democratically elected President to finish his mandate.
We are close to a civil war. I can assure you that even Andry Rajoelina will become president, do you think that the other who support Mr Ravalomanana will accept that? The only issue is to leave the actual president at his place. Arrange an election for next year. The military must stop this insurrection. Hope my lovely country will recover!
Andry Rajoelina says a referendum is unnecessary
Ravalomanana has been working hard to develop the country. His programme and projects have worked very well and rural areas were very beneficial. Infrastructure improved. Corruption has become less compared with the what happened to the former president. Roads which were subject to political propaganda are finished and the population can travel. But why the opposition is trying so hard to overthrow Ravalomanana? First because Ravalomanana shift from Francophonie to other areas including Asia and other European areas. Second, he is not corrupt and tried to set up terms and conditions in running most of the business which is very different from what happened during Ratsiraka's presidency, in which corruptions reigned. Third, oil has been discovered in Madagascar and not run by French but Canadian and American companies.
Rivo, Antananarivo, Madagscar
Madagascar has an opportunity here to show its political maturity. Let the opposition campaign for the next election and let the voters decide. Anything else puts Madagascar in the same league as some of the worst African failed states. Having been here over six years it is tragic to see all those years of development being unravelled by power hungry individuals ready to destroy the country just to get themselves into power. If they really respect democracy and have the best interests of the Malagasy people at heart then wait for the elections, two years is not long.
Supporters of Andry Rajoelina gather at a rally in the capital Antananarivo
I may not come from Madagascar, but the people back there are looking trouble that will never end sooner. Hope AU take immediate step, cause the dividend to reap will be costly. Ask West Africa, Liberia where I am from!
Why is the African Union always behaving like a toothless dog? Are they waiting until there is another army takeover before they commence condemnation? This is the time for the entire international community to intervene in bringing this crisis to an end. If an elected government is threatened in such away, and subsequently allowed to be removed, that will be a bad signal. Let the opposition wait for election or take advantage of the referendum.
James, New Jersey, USA
After a century of colonial repression Madagascar gets a semblance of democracy and the potential to begin to conceive of itself as a whole and its people as united, and it all goes up in smoke because the pull of greed, power, and vengeance is just too great. I'm afraid Mr Ravalomanana is also not without guilt in squandering a rare opportunity of strong majority support by not separating himself from his business conflicts of interest.
b. reinhart, boston, USA