Dozens of soldiers have taken over one of the presidential palaces in Madagascar's capital. The president was in another palace in the city.

An AP reporter watched Monday evening as the soldiers drove an armored vehicle through the gates of the palace usually used for ceremonial occasions. The building appeared deserted. The soldiers set off two explosions and fired shots.

The soldiers, who did not give their names, said they were part of Madagascar's "new" army, an apparent reference to a faction that has rejected the president.

The president is accused of misspending public funds and undermining democracy. An opposition leader has declared himself president and promises new presidential elections within two years.