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On Madagascar, UN Is Asked of Bans on Lalao Ravalomanana, Says Nothing

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 26 -- The UN had said it cared about Madagascar, but as with so many things it was not true, or there was no follow through.

On April 26 at noon, Inner City Press asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: About Lalao Ravalomanana, the wife of the Marc Ravalomanana, she returned to the country in March, apparently she was asked to commit to the Government of [Andry] Rajoelina that she wouldnít make any political statements as a condition of returning and visiting her ailing mother. Now, she is announcing that she is going to run for President, so a lot of people saying, since the UN has had some involvement in this, what did the UN think of this condition on her return, and do they believe that she has an absolute right to make political statements and to run for office? Whatís their position on this growing crisis as some call it?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Iíll check. I donít think we have any immediate position on that, but Iíll certainly check for you, Matthew.

  But seven hours later there was no response. It's not that the Department of Political Affairs wasn't working -- as Inner City Press reported, DPA met with the Western European and Other Group, which then met with Qatar about its Syria resolution. (Spoiler alert: WEOG sources tell Inner City Press they demanded changes to an Operative Paragraph.)

  But no response on Madagascar from DPA or Ban's office.

  Ban, meanwhile, was to meet with Nicolas Sarkozy, although his spokesman didn't tell Inner City Press despite its question on just this on April 25.

  Back in May 2012, the UN was partnering with Rajoelina's Ministry of Communication to celebrate World Press Freedom Day in Madagascar. On this same day Reporters without Borders directly criticized the Minister of Communication for threatening to shut down Radio Free FMand for his part in the detention of 2 Free FM journalists.

  Then after evidence of abuse including gang rape and the burning of twenty-some villages in southern Madagascar emerged, the transitional prime minister -- whose place Rajoelina now reportedly seeks to take until he runs again in 2018 -- said an investigation would be launched. But has it?

  Sources tell Inner City Press that Rajoelina's agenda may be to seek Ban's support to change the order of elections to have legislative elections happen on May 8 rather than presidential elections. 

  Now that Rajoelina has given in to pressure and declared himself out of the running for president, there is publicspeculation that he wants to set up a stand-in to run for president in 2013 with Rajoelina as Prime Minister, then Rajoelina runs for president in 2018. Rajoelina has already declared his candidacy for 2018.

   France has publicly stated that it may support a candidate in Madagascarís upcoming presidential election ("si nous encourageons une candidature, ce sera aussi discrŤtement que possible"). 

  Perhaps as part of this support, the new French ambassador recently declared that ousted-president Ravalomanana should not be allowed to return to his country before the election. 

  So France favors forced exile counter to Article 20 of the SADC roadmap for a way out of the crisis which states that Ravalomanana should be allowed to return to his country unconditionally. Vive la France. Regardez cette site.

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