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ADDIS ABABA - Madagascar's transition government is ready to hold elections by the end of the year, African Union officials have said .
The authority set up by army-backed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, who forced Marc Ravalomanana to relinquish power on March 17, "has let it be known to us that it is ready to bring forward the transition calendar", AU special envoy in Madagascar Ablasse Ouedraogo said last week.
Elections were promised for next year but they have said they are ready to organise elections before the end of this year.
Ouedraogo added: "It remains to be seen if, in precipitating events, we will discover a durable stability on Madagascar.
"That will (only) be possible if all the protagonists in Madagascar's political crisis understand the need to make concessions."
The announcement came at the end of a meeting of a consultative group on Madagascar that began talks last Thursday over the Indian Ocean island's worsening political crisis.
The talks by the AU-appointed team opened at the bloc's headquarters in Addis Ababa a day after Madagascar's months-old crisis took a dive with the arrest of a prime minister appointed by the country's ousted president.
"The current situation in Madagascar is dangerous. We need to work for the return of social order and lasting stability in Madagascar," Jean Ping, African Union commission chairman, said earlier.
"Our task is to support the return of constitutional order as soon as possible," he added.
Sworn in by the constitutional court as Madagascar's transitional leader, Rajoelina's power takeover has been condemned internationally as a coup and saw the country suspended from the African Union and the Southern African Development Community. - Sapa-AFP