/ languages

Choisir langue


General strike bites, as UN envoy stays on

Article published on the 2009-02-11 Latest update 2009-02-11 09:27 TU

Haïle Menkerios (L), UN envoy, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (File Photo: <a href="" target="_blank">United Nations</a>)

Haïle Menkerios (L), UN envoy, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
(File Photo: United Nations)

In Madagascar, opposition leader Andry Rajoelina has called a general strike for Wednesday, urging people to stay home, while supporters of President Marc Ravalomanana are to hold a rally. A United Nations envoy has managed to get Rajoelina and Ravalomanana to agree to a negotiated settlement but there is still friction between the two sides.

Stores are closed and few students are in school Wednesday, as people seem to be following Rajoelina’s call for a general strike, according to the AFP news agency.

“Tomorrow nobody will leave their homes,” Rajoelina said in a speech Tuesday to a crowd of about 5,000 supporters. “Workers will not report for work and pupils will not go to school.”

On Saturday, Rajoelina named Monja Roindefo as Prime Minister of a transition authority, which President Ravalomanana has not accepted. Roindefo on Tuesday appointed four “ministers” of the counter-government to cover internal security, planning, home affairs and finance.

Meanwhile, United Nations’ special envoy, Haïle Menkerios, has extended his stay in Madagascar to follow up on the two sides agreeing to negotiate a truce. But Nick Champeaux, reporting from the capital, Antananarivo, says in practice, the two sides are not letting up on mutual criticism.

“What is worrisome is that as soon as they step out of these meetings the two men continue to engage in confrontations,” he said.

Report: Correspondent Nick Champeaux, Antananarivo

11/02/2009 by Nick Champeaux

The President’s supporters are to stage a rally on Wednesday

“They’re hoping 70,000 people will show up,” said Champeaux.

“The Rajoelina camp still thinks it runs the city,” he continued. “It has decided not to obstruct the rally, which will take place in the municipal sports stadium.”