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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09ANTANANARIVO589 2009-08-10 13:22:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Antananarivo
Cable title:  

MADAGASCAR: LEADERS REACH CONCENSUS, BUT MUCH WORK

Tags:   PGOV MA 
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P 101322Z AUG 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2748
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANTANANARIVO 000589 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/E - MBEYZEROV
PARIS FOR RKANEDA
LONDON FOR PLORD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/04/2018
TAGS: PGOV MA
SUBJECT: MADAGASCAR: LEADERS REACH CONCENSUS, BUT MUCH WORK
REMAINS

REF: 09 ANTANANARIVO 586

ANTANANARI 00000589 001.2 OF 002


Classified By: POLOFF JEFF HULSE FOR REASONS 1.4 B AND D.



1. (C) SUMMARY: The leaders of Madagascar's four main
political movements had an unexpectedly productive series of
talks in Maputo, Mozambique from August 5 to 9, and have
taken an important first step towards the creation of a
consensual, inclusive transition government to see the
country through elections by November 2010. Some of the most
contentious issues remain unresolved, such as the assignment
of positions in the transition government and the extent of
an amnesty for former President Ravalomanana, but this is the
first time that all the key players have agreed on a
structure and timeline (of 15 months) for the transition
period. The leaders currently plan a "Maputo II" follow-up
meeting around August 19, and have agreed to form the unity
government within 30 days (by September 8). Initial
reactions in country have been largely positive, although
some of the current regime's more intransigent elements, and
the military have yet to weight in. END SUMMARY.

SIX AGREEMENTS IN FOUR DAYS


--------------------------





2. (SBU) In four days of negotiations in Maputo, Madagascar's
"Big Four" political leaders (current transition President
Andry Rajoelina, and former Presidents Alberty Zafy, Didier
Ratsiraka, and Marc Ravalomanana) signed six separate
agreements, resolving many of the key roadblocks in previous
talks:

- The Maputo Political Agreement: a broad document outlining
the structure and duration of the transition, with details on
the organization of elections, amnesties and annulments, the
status of former heads of state, plans for modifying the
constitution, and the role of the international community
during the transition and elections.

- The Transition Charter: further elaborates on the Political
Agreement, and provides details on the functions and
priorities for each element of the transition government.

- The Charter of Values: a brief statement of values to be
observed during the negotiations and the transition period,
including non-violence, non-discrimination, and tolerance,
among others.

- Agreement on the annulment of convictions from the events
of 2002 in Madagascar: a comprehensive amnesty deal
concerning Madagascar's previous political crisis, which
resulted in numerous politically-motivated convictions of
supporters of former President Ratsiraka.

- Agreement on the case of President Ravalomanana:
specifically requests the annulment of Ravalomanana's recent
conviction for misuse of public funds in the purchase of a
presidential plane in December 2008.

- Agreement on the annulment of convictions of political,
civil, and military figures under the Ravalomanana regime:
requests the annulment of politically-motivated convictions
from December 2002 to August 2009.



3. (SBU) The Maputo Political Agreement ("The Agreement")
contains the most immediately salient points, and lays out
the gaps to be filled through further talks. It foresees a
transition of no more than 15 months, during which there will
be a referendum on the constitution, and legislative and
presidential elections. The transition administration will
be headed by a President and Vice President, and the
"government" will be composed of 32 members: 1 Prime
Minister, 3 Deputy Prime Ministers, and 28 ministers
(reportedly to be evenly divided up among the four
movements). Members of the government (which does not
include the President and Vice President) will not be
permitted to run in the presidential election - although they
are not barred from the legislative elections. The Agreement
envisions a bicameral transition parliament, with an upper
house (Supreme Council of the Transition) of 65 members, and
a lower house (Congress of the Transition) of 258 members,
with Ravalomanana appointing 90 members, and the other three
movements appointing 56 each. In addition, the transition
government will include a Council for National
Reconciliation, an Economic and Social Council, a National
Defense and Security Think Tank, a High Court of the

ANTANANARI 00000589 002.2 OF 002


Transition (replacing the current High Constitutional Court),
and an Independent National Electoral Commission.



4. (SBU) The Agreement has 10 articles specifically dealing
with issues of amnesty and "national reconciliation". In
general, it provides for either an amnesty or an annulment
for politically-motivated convictions from January 1, 2002 to
the date of signature (August 9). Crimes against humanity,
war crimes, genocide, and grave human rights violations are
excluded, which will allow for further debate on a wide range
of incidents including responsibility for the massacre on
February 7, 2009 in central Antananarivo, as well as older
cases such as that of Colonel Coutiti, who was convicted by
the Ravalomanana regime for torture and war crimes in 2002
but was released to house arrest in April 2009 by Rajoelina.
Ratsiraka and his political cohort of 2002 are the most
clear-cut beneficiaries, as the Agreement paves the way for
him and presidential-hopeful Pierrot Rajaonarivelo to
re-enter politics. The Agreement could also result in the
imminent release of a number of high-profile political
prisoners from the past six months - including members of
Ravalomanana's "Legalist" government, appointed in April 2009
- which would be a significant confidence-building measure
going into a second round of talks.

NOW FOR THE HARD PART: DIVIDING UP THE JOBS


--------------------------





5. (C) At present, the Big Four plan to regroup for a "Maputo
II" conference in Mozambique within 10 days (on/around August
19), at which point they will address the most contentious
issue left unresolved: who will hold what post in the
transition government. None of the documents signed to date
indicate actual appointments, although since his return
Rajoelina has indicated to the press (and to his advisors)
that he expects to keep his position as president. The other
leaders may accept this, but it will likely mean that the
Prime Minister's job must go to a Ravalomanana appointment -
even though current PM Monja previously indicated his
intention to stay put (reftel). Given that the current
cabinet is stocked with pro-Rajoelina ministers, it is also
likely that three quarters of them will soon be unemployed.
If Rajoelina is not prepared for real compromise on these
positions in the next round of talks, they are unlikely to
succeed.



6. (C) There also remain several unanswered questions about
Ravalomanana's status that must be addressed. While his
recent conviction over the December 2008 purchase of a
presidential jet should be thrown out per these agreements,
he will no doubt be keen for a more comprehensive amnesty
deal to cover his activities as embattled head of state from
January to March 2009. The uncertainty over his eventual
return to Madagascar may be a reflection of this; his wife
has indicated that she plans to return soon, but he has
stated to the press that he intends to remain abroad for the
near future, and regardless does not intend to play an active
role in the transition government.



7. (C) COMMENT: These agreements are a positive step in the
right direction; after six months of bickering over amnesty
deals, elections, and the composition of a transition
government, the feuding parties finally have a framework
through which to address key issues that will get Madagascar
back on a path towards rule of law and, eventually,
democratic government. However, Post is holding back on
publicly acknowledging this progress until it is apparent
that Rajoelina's entire government is prepared to accept it,
and the current regime takes concrete steps to meet its new
obligations - such as actually releasing political prisoners,
and reining in their abusive security forces. In a hopeful
sign that local actors are buying into the agreements, the
daily Legalist rallies at Ravalomanana's Magro store have
been temporarily suspended; it is time for Rajoelina's
government to meet its words with action as well. END COMMENT.
STROMAYER