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Madagascar presidential hopeful hits out after arrest

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A recently arrested Madagascar presidential candidate hit out at leader Andry Rajoelina Wednesday, accusing him of wilfully extending the country's four-year political crisis.

"I am attacking Rajoelina because he has the key to unlock the current situation by passing an order and resigning from his post," Laza Razafiarison told AFP.

He appeared before a judge after his arrest Tuesday for holding an unauthorised election rally.

Police fired tear gas to break up Razafiarison's rally Monday.

They then arrested eight people, including the candidate, who is considered an underdog in the country's upcoming presidential election.

Razafiarison, a former World Bank analyst, was stoic about his detention.

"I am ready to go to prison if the regime decides that," he said while waiting for his appearance.

Around 200 supporters waited at the court where he was taken with the seven others. One of the arrested had a head wound, another a hurt foot.

"I'm not fighting for a post in the transitional government, I'm advocating to save Madagascar. That's my mission," said Razafiarison.

The Indian Ocean island has been in limbo since Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and mayor of the capital Antananarivo, seized power in 2009.

A presidential election to restore constitutional rule has repeatedly been put on hold amid controversy over the three front runners' candidacy.

Regional mediators have called for Rajoelina, as well as Ravalomanana's wife Lalao and veteran leader Didier Ratsiraka to stand down from the polls.

But all three have refused.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130724/madagascar-presidential-hopeful-hits-out-after-arrest