Madagascar’s prime minister resigns to pave way for unity gov’t

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Madagascar’s prime minister Olivier Mahafaly said he resigned from his post on Monday to comply with the terms of a court ruling that ordered the formation of a new consensus government to end a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island nation.

Last month, president Hery Rajaonarimampianina approved an election law under which the main opposition candidate, Marc Ravalomanana, could run for office. An earlier version of the law had sparked deadly street protests.

The High Constitutional Court ordered Rajaonarimampianina to dissolve his government and appoint a new prime minister with the support of all political parties.

“I unconditionally accept this decision because I do not want to block a solution. I hand in my resignation without constraint or regret,” Mahafaly told reporters at his office.

Presidential elections are due this year.

Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries, despite reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals. A 2009 coup scared off foreign investors.

Rajaonarimampianina will have to consult other parties in parliament before appointing a new prime minister. His party has no lawmakers in parliament and he has until June 5 to pick the consensus prime minister as ordered by the court.