Madagascar’s military backed government is willing to hold elections by the end of the year, the African Union (AU) said on Thursday. The army-backed administration of President Andry Rajoelina came to power in February in what many foreign leaders denounced as a coup. They have called for quick elections to restore constitutional order.

“Everybody is agreed,” AU special envelectionoy to Madagascar, Ablasse Ouedraogo, told reporters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa. “(They should) organise elections by the end of the year,” he said. Rajoelina had said elections would be held in October 2010.

The AU envoy was speaking after the first meeting of an international contact group formed by the 53-member body to ensure the international community takes a common position in pushing for a return to constitutional order in the huge Indian Ocean island.

Madagascar was not represented at the Addis Ababa meeting but Rajoelina’s foreign minister Ny Hasnia Andriamanjato and representatives of ousted President Marc Ravalomanana had been in Addis and had met members of the contact group. AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said Ravalomanana should be involved in talks with the Rajoelina government to work out an agreement about who should run the country.



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