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Madagascar's President Breaks Pledge Not to Run in Vote

Madagascar's president, Andry Rajoelina, has registered as a candidate in upcoming elections despite pledging that he would not do so.

The president's name appears on a list of candidates that was released by election officials on Friday. Mr. Rajoelina is one of 41 approved candidates for the July 24 vote.

President Rajoelina told Radio France International that he decided to run after learning that the wife of former president Marc Ravalomanana would enter the race. Mr. Ravalomanana has made a similar pledge not to run for president.

Also on the list is another former president of Madagascar, Didier Ratsiraka.

The July elections were organized as a way to help the country out of its current political crisis.

The Indian Ocean nation has been mired in political difficulties since March 2009, when Mr. Rajoelina, with the backing of the army, ousted then-president Ravalomanana, accusing him of autocratic rule.

The coup led to international sanctions on Madagascar, a poor nation that relies heavily on foreign investment and tourist dollars.

Mr. Ravalomanana has been living in exile in South Africa. He has said he wants to return to Madagascar to restore democracy. Mr. Ravalomanana was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for killings committed by his presidential guard ahead of the coup.

Former president Ratsiraka fled to France in 2002, after an election dispute in which he refused to concede defeat to Mr. Ravalomanana. He has since returned from exile.

Mr. Ratsiraka was president from 1975 to 1991 and again from 1996 to 2002.

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