Madagascar names military man as prime minister

President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (R) and former Prime Minister Roger Kolo at Iavoloha Presidential Palace in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on April 18, 2014 (AFP Photo/Rijasolo)

Antananarivo (AFP) - Madagascar's president appointed a serving air commodore as prime minister Wednesday, two days after the government of the Indian Ocean island nation resigned over criticism of its handling of recurring power outages.

"In accordance with article 54 of the Constitution, Air Commodore Jean Ravelonarivo is appointed prime minister," announced Pierre Roger Ralala, secretary-general in the presidency.

Former premier Roger Kolo -- a radiologist by trade -- and his cabinet resigned Monday following heavy criticism for their response to the repeated electricity failures.

Ravelonarivo is a former governor of the Rotary Club in Madagascar and is general manager of a state-owned real estate company. He was appointed to the position of air commodore last month.

With just 15 percent of Madagascar on the grid and water and electricity company Jirama struggling to pay oil suppliers on time, blackouts have become an increasingly common feature since President Hery Rajaonarimampianina came to power a year ago.

Two people have died in recent weeks when angry Madagascans took to the streets to protest the rolling blackouts.

Energy Minister Richard Fihenena was fired last October for his inability to solve the problem.

Rajaonarimampianina, who does not have a majority in parliament, appointed Kolo as premier in April 2014, five months after democratic elections brought to an end a political crisis sparked by a 2009 coup.