Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Madagascar Premier: Coup Leaders Aimed to Discredit Constitutional Referendum

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Madagascar Premier: Coup Leaders Aimed to Discredit Constitutional Referendum

Article excerpt

Rebel military officers attempted another coup today but voters appeared largely undeterred.

Citizens of Madagascar streamed to polls today, as rumors of a military coup shook the capital city of Antananarivo. Gunfire was reported near the airport, and Reuters reported that top military officers have gathered to "crush" a coup attempt by junior officers.

Today's vote is a referendum for citizens to either approve or reject a new constitution, a vital step toward national legislative and presidential elections next year, and toward normalization of diplomatic relations with its African neighbors and with its trading partners.

Madagascar has largely been cut off, diplomatically and economically, since a March 2009 coup toppled the elected government of President Marc Ravalomanana. That coup was led by a young popular disc jockey, Andry Rajoelina, who has governed the country as head of the High Authority of the Transition, backed by the Madagascar military.

Madagascar has been one of Africa's most unstable nations, often racked by coups as members of its ruling elite battle for power and control of the country's mineral resources.

Rebel Col. Charles Andrianasoavina, who is leading this latest attempt, told Reuters that a "military council for the welfare of the people" has taken over the island. Just 18 months before, Colonel Andrianasoavina was one of the army officers who had supported the coup that installed President Rajoelina, whom he now seems determined to overthrow.

But by mid-afternoon, the coup seemed to be fizzling. Sources reached in Antananarivo told the Monitor that most of the nation's army seem to be staying in their barracks and not joining the coup, perhaps a sign that the rebel faction has failed to gain wide support.

In a televised press conference, Prime Minister Vital Albert Camille told Madagascar citizens the rebel action was an attempt to "discredit" the constitutional referendum, and he called for the population to remain calm. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.