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Opposition leader president of Madagascar

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, March 18 (UPI) -- Andry Rajoelina, head of the opposition in Madagascar, was named president Wednesday by military officials under pressure from the ranks.

Rajoelina, the former mayor of Antananarivo, replaces Marc Ravalomanana, who resigned Tuesday. Ravalomanana named a military group to be the government pending new elections but Rajoelina supporters in the military pushed for his elevation. Many African leaders said that they wouldn't recognize Rajoelina, calling his appointment undemocratic, AllAfrica.com reported. Nigerian Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe said that Rajoelina is a "threat to African security."

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"South Africa and SADC will never countenance the unconstitutional transfer of power from a democratically elected government in any of our member states," said South African President Kgalema Motlanthe, who also heads the Southern African Development Community.

The African Union called for talks between the contending parties in Madagascar to find a constitutional solution to the crisis. An AU summit was scheduled for later this year in Madagascar but could now be moved somewhere else.

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