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World Briefing / Madagascar

Generals hand power to opposition leader

March 18, 2009|FROM TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Madagascar's top generals handed control of this Indian Ocean island nation to the toppled president's rival hours after the president stepped down and tried to put the military in charge.

In a ceremony broadcast from a military camp in the capital, Antananarivo, Vice Adm. Hippolyte Rarison Ramaroson said he and two other generals rejected a move by the ousted president, Marc Ravalomanana, to transfer power to a military directorate.

Instead, the admiral said, the military was installing opposition leader Andry Rajoelina as the country's president.

For months, Rajoelina -- a disc jockey-turned-broadcasting magnate who had been mayor of Antananarivo -- had been pressing Ravalomanana to step down. The confrontation had led to deadly clashes.

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