Major-General Gabriel Ramanantsoa, who was given special executive powers nearly two weeks ago following days of unrest in the Malagasy Republic, announced a new-man government in Tananarive on Saturday (27 May).
Major-General Gabriel Ramanantsoa, who was given special executive powers nearly two weeks ago following days of unrest in the Malagasy Republic, announced a new-man government in Tananarive on Saturday (27 May). The new government includes four military officers but is, it's stressed, apolitical.
The new ministers wee introduced to the press in a government office building in Tenanarive. Then Major General Ramanantsoa went to the Presidential Palace for talks with President Philibert Tsiranana. The President remains head of state.
Major-General Ramanantsoa appointed Captain Didier Ratsiraka as Foreign Minister while retaining the key defence and armed forces portfolios for himself.
Major-General Ramanantsoa told reporters that "the man I have chosen to help me govern our country will provide an example of austerity, discipline and integrity".
President Tsiranana warned later in the day against the perils of civil war and appealed to Madagascar's 18 tribes to do everything to prevent it. He said the new government reflected national unity and added that there would be no victors in a civil war.
A civil war would bring great-power intervention because of Madagascar's strategic position in the Indian Ocean, and because of jealousies aroused by the French presences on the island, the president said.
The Major-General, who was given executive powers in the face of a general strike and mass demonstrations, said that agreements between the Malagasy Republic and foreign nations wold be studied and "necessary revisions made in the light of the national interest."