Madagascar's strongman on Saturday promulgated the constitution adopted in a referendum held last month and boycotted by the troubled Indian Ocean island's main opposition movements.
Andry Rajoelina, who seized power with the army's backing in March 2009, signed the promulgation decree during a ceremony held at the Iavoloha presidential palace and broadcast live on national television and radio.
"Madagascans have expressed their opinion and their wish to enter into the fourth republic... It is the victory of those Madagascans who no longer accept that foreign powers make decisions for them," he said.
The new constitution, which was submitted to a referendum on November 17, was approved by 74.19 of voters, according to officials results published on Monday.
Saturday was declared a public holiday and celebrations were organised in the capital Antananarivo and other parts of the country.
The adoption of a new constitution was part of the roadmap outlined by Rajoelina and a myriad of small parties to break the institutional deadlock that has crippled the country since his coup.
The three main opposition groups -- led by Marc Ravalomanana, whom Rajoelina ousted, and two other former presidents -- have rejected the roadmap and demand the implementation of internationally-sponsored agreements signed last year.
Among other things, the new constitution lowers the minimum age to run for president from 40 to 35, allowing the 36-year-old Rajoelina to enter the race, despite his assurances that he would not.© ANP/AFP