SEYCHELLES WELCOMES PRESIDENT RAJOELINA DECISION NOT TO STAND IN FORTHCOMING ELECTIONS: Building blocks of agreement laid out in Desroches culminate in solution
On the eve of the 28th session of the Indian Ocean Commission Council of Ministers to be held in Seychelles tomorrow, President James Michel has warmly welcomed the decision of President Andry Rajoelina not to stand in the forthcoming presidential elections in Madagascar.
In his message to President Rajoelina, President Michel has hailed his decision as “a great act of statesmanship”.
As former President Marc Ravalomanana had declared his intention not to stand following the SADC Summit held in dar Es Salaam, the proposal tabled in Desroches, whereby both leaders do not participate in the elections of May, is now achievable.
In two sets of negotiations held in Seychelles last year, President Michel alongside President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as the Chair of the SADC Troika on Politics, Defence and Security, had engaged with both President Rajoelina and former President Ravalomanana to consider not standing for the presidential elections as the best means to create a calm and conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections.
“The Government of Seychelles is pleased at President Rajoelina’s announcement today and we welcome it as a brand new start for the people of Madagascar,” the President stated.
“After the Desroches Talks held in Seychelles last year with both leaders, we were optimistic about the eventual outcome of bringing the two leaders together for their first face to face talk since the crisis began. We are delighted that the building blocks of an agreement laid out in Desroches have culminated in a solution. We congratulate both leaders for putting the people of Madagascar first. We are now more confident than ever that the people of Madagascar can rebuild their democratic system and hold free and fair elections this year.”
The President has also warmly congratulated the current leadership of the SADC Troika in the person of President Jakaya Kikwete of the United Republic of Tanzania for continuing to press the two leaders to come to an agreement on the basis of the first discussions in Seychelles, and also as formalized by the SADC Summits in Maputo and Dar Es Salaam last year.
The Seychelles Foreign Minister, Mr. Jean-Paul Adam, has said that the decision not to stand that has now been announced by the two leaders is a validation of the efforts of the Indian Ocean Commission to support the process of implementation of the SADC roadmap.
“The Seychelles presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission has actively sought to support the full implementation of the SADC Roadmap, and it is very encouraging that on the eve of handing over the presidency of our organization, that we are able to make such a big step forward in the process. There is still a lot of work to be done however and Seychelles will continue to follow the implementation of the roadmap closely and fully support the Comoros as the next presidents of the Indian Ocean Commission” the Minister has stated.
Seychelles hosted the Desroches crisis talks in June last year together with President Jacob Zuma, Chair of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Troika on Politics, Defence and Security. Though not a member of the Troika mandated to address the on-going crisis in Madagascar, Seychelles was invited in recognition of its contributions to the talks and as holding the Presidency of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC).