The 15-day Malagasy National Congress opened in a Sports Stadium in Tananarive on Monday (4 September).
TGV City of Tananarive
GV People arriving by bus at stadium (2 shots)
GV People arriving at rally
SCU General Andriamahazo addresses large crowd at rally
SCU General Andriamahazo
GV PAN..crowd waving
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Background: The 15-day Malagasy National Congress opened in a Sports Stadium in Tananarive on Monday (4 September).
The Congress, the first to be held since General Ramanantsoa took over the government during bloody rioting last May, has been called to work out long term objectives for the island's future.
Early reports suggest that there are differences of opinion at the Congress on the future of French military bases in Madagascar. At present France maintains a 4,000 man military base on the island and is carrying out training programmes with the Republic's own military forces.
Some delegates are said to want a total withdrawal of the French. Others have pressed for a revision of the agreements with France. A new French Ambassador arrived in Madagascar on Tuesday (5 September).
At the opening of the Congress, General Gilles Andriamahazo, who was the military governor of Tananarive during the May riots, speaking on behalf of government, promised that decisions taken at the Congress would be taken into consideration by the government.
The Congress is due to finish on September 19th -- four days before a referendum to approve reforms proposed by General Ramanantsoa' government.
SYNOPSIS: Tananarive, scene of bloody rioting last May, on Monday (4 September) saw the opening of the 15-day Malagasy National Congress aimed at drawing up long term plans for the Republic.
Almost 30,000 people, from all over Madagascar, arrived to take part in the Congress, the first to be held since General Ramanantsoa took over the government during the troubles last May.
But at the opening of the Congress, General Ramananteeu's message was delivered by Brigadier-General Gilles Andriamahszo. Minister of Territorial Affairs, who was military governor of Tananarive at the time of the disturbances, in which 34 workers and students were killed.
He promised that the government would take the wishes of the Congress into consideration when drawing up the new constitution. A referendum on the reforms is to be hold on 23rd of September.