Madagascans give huge backing to new constitution
(AFP) 5 hours ago
ANTANANARIVO Madagascans strongly approved a new constitution in a referendum held last week, with 74 percent of the voters backing the basic law, according to preliminary results released on Monday.
The returns from 99.37 percent of the counted ballots also showed a turnout of 52.91 percent, the electoral commission chief Hery Rakatomanana told reporters.
While the referendum was under way Wednesday, a group of mutinous soldiers declared they had taken power in the Indian Ocean island, rocking efforts by the country's regime aimed at resolving a protracted political crisis.
Madagascar has been plagued by political turmoil since its current ruler Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana in March 2009 in an army-backed coup.
The referendum was the first step in a series of polls his regime has set out in a new plan aimed at stabilising the country. Municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections are to follow.
But the municipal vote set for next month has been indefinitely postponed due to political and technical difficulties.
Opposition parties called for a boycott of the referendum, and donor countries, on whom Madagascar's economy largely depends, also criticised the process, saying it did not represent the interests of all parties.
On Saturday, the army quashed the mutiny and arrested the soldiers who were behind the country's latest crisis.
Pamoja na matatizo yao, Madagascar wamekubali katiba mpya. Kenya wamepitisha katiba mpya na Zambia wameanzisha mchakato wa katiba mpya. Serikali ya Kikwete inataka damu imwagike kama Madagascar na Kenya ndiyo ikubali katiba mpya?!