Major-General Gabriel Ramanantsoa, the Army Chief-of-Staff of the Malagasy Republic, announced at a rally on May 18 that he would form a new government.
Major-General Gabriel Ramanantsoa, the Army Chief-of-Staff of the Malagasy Republic, announced at a rally on May 18 that he would form a new government. On that day, Malagasy President Philibert Tsiranana handed over full executive powers to the General in the wake of a weekend of violence which left 34 people dead. Later, the General went to the Presidential Palace to begin his duties.
There was heavy security during the rally and on the way as the General made his trip to the Presidential Palace. Tensions in Tananarive were still evident because of the weekend violence which followed a three-week strike by students demanding a thorough revision of the education system and a fresh look at cultural subjects in the country's co-operation agreement with France.
But the news of General Ramanantsoa's position was greeted with cheers and jubilation.
On Tuesday (23 May), the 66-year-old General Ramanantsoa said he thought the serious phase of the recent crisis in the Malagasy Republic had been overcome. But, he said, it wasn't fully resolved and action was now necessary to restore calm by taking whatever measures were needed to solve the Republic's economic, social and cultural problems.
Speaking at a press conference, the General said he expected to name his new government--which he has stated will comprise military men and experts but no politicians--by the end of the week.
The new government is expected to take control under a new constitution after a transitory period of military rule.
Student leaders have pressed for the complete removal of the 59-year-old President Tsiranana, but General Ramanantsoa has replied he must remain as the symbol of national unity to avoid the threat of civil war.