In an attempt at restoring unity, Ramanantsoa, on February 5, 1975, turned over power to Colonel Richard Ratsimandrava (a Merina with a less "aristocratic" background). Five days later, Ratsimandrava was assassinated, and a National Military Directorate was formed to restore order by declaring martial law, strictly censoring political expression, and suspending all political parties.
The political transition crisis was resolved on June 15, 1975, when the National Military Directorate selected Lieutenant Commander Didier Ratsiraka as head of state and president of a new ruling body, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC). The choice of Ratsiraka allayed ethnic concerns because he was a côtier belonging to the Betsimisaraka ethnic group. In addition, Ratsiraka--a dedicated socialist--was perceived by his military peers as a consensus candidate capable of forging unity among the various leftist political parties (such as AKFM and Monima), students, urban workers, the peasantry, and the armed forces.