"The mediator will be there tomorrow to consult with the parties and decide what to do next," Mr. Salomao says. He could not say whether the referendum results pointing in the government's favor would be accepted by the international community, but said the goal of new talks was for Madagsacar "to go back to constitutional order."
Earlier this month senior US diplomat Karl Wycoff announced after meeting Rajoelina and main political groups that there were "a number of significant problems with the current political process" and that SADC talks should be restored. He voiced concerns over the government's steps toward restoring constitutional order, citing "the creation and operation of a variety of transitional bodies, the constitutional referendum now scheduled for Nov. 17, and the proposed electoral calendar."
The government urged people to ignore the country's main opposition parties – three parties formed by the country's three previous presidents – to boycott the referendum. Rajoelina urged voters to vote "yes" on the new constitution as the only way out of the crisis, with countryside rallies packed with pop stars, and presidential promises of subsidized housing, food, jobs, public works, and other populist measures.
Even "no" parties expect the government to win the referendum, albeit with accusations of manipulation and an "undemocratic" awareness campaign about just what is written in the new constitution. With no deadline for the interim administration, no mention of scheduled presidential and legislative election dates next year, and a recent court decision to lower the age of eligibility for presidential candidates from 40 to 35, results from a calm morning of voting on Wednesday indicated that Rajoelina could keep his options open.