Ravalomanana will not contest next election

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MarcRavalomanana REUTERS File photo: Former Madagascar leader Marc Ravalomanana

Madagascar's ex-president Marc Ravalomanana will not contest elections in 2013 but wants to return home from exile in South Africa, Tanzanian leader Jakaya Kikwete has said in a statement.

Ravalomanana “announced that he will not be a candidate for any position in 2013's presidential elections as a way forward towards resolving the political impasse in his country,” the statement from Kikwete read, issued after he met with the deposed leader.

Ravalomanana is planning to return to Madagascar, where he intends to “seek peace and work together with the people of Madagascar in reconstructing and rebuilding our country”, the statement, issued late on Tuesday, added.

Ravalomanana has made several failed attempts to return to the Indian Ocean island which he fled following a coup led by current strongman Andry Rajoelina in March 2009.

He was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment over the killing of 36 protesters by presidential guards during the 2009 unrest.

The statement, issued late on Tuesday, followed a meeting on Monday between Ravalomanana and Kikwete, current chairman of the political, security and defence panel for the 15-nation Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).

The “decision not to contest the elections in May and July of 2013 was to implement in letter and spirit” a SADC roadmap for Madagascar agreed in Maputo, the statement added.

Kikwete said the SADC had tasked him with the job of also pressing Rajoelina not to stand in elections “as a way towards resolving the crisis.” - AFP

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