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Madagascar's Rajoelina gives his first speech as president-to-be

Article published on the 2009-03-18 Latest update 2009-03-20 11:46 TU

Andry Rajoelina(Photo: AFP)

Andry Rajoelina
(Photo: AFP)

Andry Rajoelina delivered his first speech Wednesday as acting president of Madagascar to an audience of 15,000 supporters. The 34 year-old said increasing the standard of living was a top priority, as well as arresting former president Marc Ravalomanana.

Rajoelina will officially be sworn in a president on Saturday, says reporter Cyril Vanier. He had been serving as mayor of the capital Antananarivo until the army seized control of a presidential palace on Monday.

"I will do everything I can to ensure that Malagasy are lifted out of poverty," Rajoelina said.

If he is to improve the standard of living it will be a heavy task as the large Indian Ocean island is one of the poorest countries in the world. To do this he promised to lower food prices throughout the country, where 75 per cent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Rajoelina will also have his justice minister execute the arrest warrant that is out for Marc Ravalomanana, according to Vanier. Rajoelina had accused the former president of high treason last week.

Q+A: Cyril Vanier, reporter for France24

18/03/2009 by Alexandra Brangeon

The African Union has called for the security of the outgoing president and his entourage to be guaranteed.

"We would want constitutional order to continue," said the African Union's top executive Jean Ping. "If the military do not follow this, this will be a coup. But then again we are still following the situation," he added.

Elections were scheduled for 2011 before political unrest broke out over the past few months. Rajoelina pledged to hold the elections as scheduled but before then he must solve immediate constitutional concerns.

One of which is an article that requires the president to have a minimum age of 40, leaving Rajoelina six years too young.

Another promise of the president-to-be was to sell "Force One," a Boeing 737 that Ravalomanana recently bought from Disney World for 60 million dollars. The plane had become symbolic for the previous regime's greed.