Madagascar government resigns over blackouts

The government of the Indian Ocean island nation of Madagascar has resigned, the presidency announced, amid growing criticism and violent protests over the cabinet’s handling of recurring power blackouts.

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina made the announcement in a decree released overnight, and said he was in the process of appointing a new government.

“Until the formation of a new government of the republic, members of the outgoing government will remain in charge,” he said.

The president gave no reason for the resignation, but the government of Prime Minister Roger Kolo has come under heavy criticism for its handling of the electricity failures.

Two people died in recent weeks when angry Madagascans took to the streets to protest rolling blackouts that have become more frequent since Rajaonarimampianina came to power a year ago.

Energy Minister Richard Fihenena was fired two months ago for his inability to solve the problem.

Just 15% of the island is on the electricity grid.

Rajaonarimampianina who does not have a majority in parliament, appointed Kolo as premier in April 2014, five months after democratic elections brought to an end a political crisis sparked by a 2009 coup.

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