Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina said on Wednesday he will not contest presidential elections slated for November this year in a bid to end the political crisis on the Indian Ocean island.
"I declare in the name of the superior interest of the nation and of the people my decision not to stand as candidate in the presidential elections for a fourth republic," he said in a televised statement.
Rajoelina, who toppled former lead Marc Ravalomanana with the help of dissident troops in March last year, said that a referendum on constitutional reform would be held on Aug. 12.
The former disc jockey, whose power grab was branded a coup by regional neighbours and foreign donors, said parliamentary elections would follow on Sept. 30 before a presidential poll on Nov. 26.
International mediators brokered a string of power-sharing deals between Rajoelina, Ravalomanana and two other former presidents last year, but they all collapsed after the bitter rivals failed to agree on how to share out the top posts.
Rajoelina, Africa's youngest leader, has been under heavy pressure from the army to find a solution after the political turmoil slowed foreign investment and the African Union slapped sanctions on more than 100 of his key backers.
ReutersLast Mod: 13 Mayıs 2010, 09:02