Afran : Rajoelina open to Madagascar poll date discussion
on 2010/1/27 17:24:33

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar's embattled leader opened the door on Tuesday to the possibility of pushing back the date of widely criticised elections scheduled for March on the Indian Ocean island.

The move is unlikely to appease African nations and foreign donors who have urged Andry Rajoelina to share power with his political rivals.

Parliamentary elections are slated for March 20 but opposition leaders and foreign diplomats are concerned a unilaterally organised poll will lack credibility and transparency.

"The government is ready to meet with all stakeholders and political parties to discuss the elections. If it is March 21, 22 or 23, or even earlier, it's not a problem" Rajoelina told reporters.

"No political party or movement will now be able to criticise us that the date of elections is our decision alone," he added.

Rajoelina, 35, last weekend snubbed the African Union's top diplomat, Jean Ping, once again rejecting calls for a consensus government to be formed without delay.

Ping left the leaders of the world's fourth largest island with two weeks to respond to a compromise solution that stressed a consensual outcome.

January 27 marks a full year since street protests against former President Marc Ravalomanana's leadership on the mineral-producing island turned violent.

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