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Page last updated at 16:18 GMT, Tuesday, 8 September 2009 17:18 UK

Madagascar cabinet 'breaks deal'

Andry Rajoelina, file image
Critics say Andry Rajoelina is desperate to hold on to power

Madagascar's leader, who came to power in a coup earlier this year, has named a new government after weeks of talks aimed at ending a political crisis.

But the three main opposition parties made it clear they would not agree it, saying it breached the deal signed before international mediators.

Andry Rajoelina named 31 ministers - mostly his staunch supporters - and announced he would remain as president.

Only two of the ministers are regarded as critics of Mr Rajoelina.

The BBC's Christina Corbett, in the capital, Antananarivo, says the announcement does not signal an end to the crisis in the Indian Ocean island-nation.

'For everyone'

At the end of talks held under international mediation in the Mozambican capital, Maputo, Mr Rajoelina agreed to form a inclusive government.

I vigorously contest the creation of this government that has been decided upon unilaterally
Marc Ravalomanana
Former president

In particular, the roles of president and prime minister were to be decided by consensus.

But 35-year-old Mr Rajoelina, along with Prime Minister Monja Roindefo, are to stay in their positions.

And 18 of the ministers - including defence, foreign affairs, justice and security - remained unchanged.

In a three-hour address carried live on TV, Mr Roindefo said he believed the new government was consensual.

"The new government is not for one party alone. It is for everyone," he said.

He added that all four main groups in Madagascar's political spectrum were represented.

Parallel government?

In a swift reaction to the announcement former President Marc Ravalomanana, who was overthrown during street protests in March, denounced the new government.

"I vigorously contest the creation of this government that has been decided upon unilaterally," Mr Ravalomanana, who lives in exile in South Africa, told a crowd of his supporters in Antananarivo by phone.

Reuters news agency reported that opposition leaders were planning to meet on Wednesday to establish a parallel government.

The agency quoted Yves Rakotoarison, a former MP from Mr Ravalomanana's party, as saying: "The three movements will meet to put in place the institutions agreed under the Maputo agreement."

Analysts say the political crisis has helped to stagnate Madagascar's economy, with unemployment in Antananarivo soaring in recent months.

The country's $350m (£212m) a year tourism industry has also been hit hard, with tourist numbers well down on last year.



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