Madagascar appoints new PM in bid to end political turmoil

Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina on Sunday appointed a new prime minister, two days after the island nation was plunged into confusion when the previous premier denied having stepped down.

The new head of government was named as current interior minister Olivier Solonandrasana, according to a statement read out by Roger Ralala, secretary general of the presidency.

The development comes after the presidency on Friday announced the resignation of Prime Minister Jean Ravelonarivo following weeks of political conflict, only for Ravelonarivo to swiftly deny the claim.

The president sought to clarify the situation on Sunday, telling reporters he "had received the prime minister's resignation".

According to local media, Ravelonarivo and Rajaonarimampianina had for weeks been at loggerheads over issues including the poor condition of the island's main roads and rising crime in the capital Antananarivo.

Solonandrasana, aged 51, is expected to form a new government in the coming days.

The Indian Ocean island nation has endured several years of turmoil after Marc Ravalomanana was ousted as president in a 2009 coup that led to the withdrawal of foreign investment and donor money.

In 2013, a presidential election that was designed to resolve complex power struggles brought Rajaonarimampianina to power.

Ravelonarivo took office as prime minister last year.

Madagascar remains one of the world's poorest countries, heavily dependent on foreign aid, and any renewed political trouble could threaten development.

The country off Africa's southeastern coast with a population of 23 million is famed for its unique wildlife, the result of evolution through geographical isolation.
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