News / Africa

Political Storm Brews in Madagascar

Madagascar's transitional leader Andry Rajoelina (C) attends a ceremony at Antananarivo's Town Hall to commemorate the students' unrest in 1972 which led to the first Republic's fall, May 13, 2013.
Madagascar's transitional leader Andry Rajoelina (C) attends a ceremony at Antananarivo's Town Hall to commemorate the students' unrest in 1972 which led to the first Republic's fall, May 13, 2013.
Anita Powell
A political storm is brewing again on the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. 

President Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a 2009 coup, has reneged on his vow to stay out of a July election that was intended to end four years of political stalemate.  He joins the wife of the ousted president and another ex-president who are also running.

Politics in Madagascar has come to resemble the tropical storms that regularly batter this remote island nation off Africa’s southeastern coast.
 
In 2009, the young mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, toppled the president.  That president was also the former mayor of Antananarivo, and had himself taken to the streets to unseat his predecessor after a disputed election.
 
Now that same political actors will be competing in July’s elections, which are supposed to be aimed at bringing back some political stability.
 
Current President Andry Rajoelina, former president Didier Ratsiraka, and the wife of exiled ex-president Marc Ravalomanana plan to run for the presidency.
 
This cluster of coup-prone leaders on one ballot is worrying, says Lucien Toulou, the Madagascar director for the Electoral Institute for the Sustainability of Democracy in Africa.
 
Toulou says none of the three should have even been allowed to run - Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana because they don't meet residency requirements, and President Rajoelina because he agreed not to run as part of a deal brokered by the Southern African Development Community.
 
“There is an issue around the credibility of the court," said Toulou.  "Secondly, an issue around the credibility of Mr. Andry Rajoelina himself because in January he said he was not for these elections, and now he is saying he’s standing, meaning that he actually cannot keep his promises.”
 
But this isn’t just about politicians not keeping promises, analysts say. Rajoelina’s 2009 coup plunged the nation into economic and political isolation after the international community imposed sanctions and withdrew aid.
 
A subsequent drop in tourism spurred locals to plunder the forests that sustain the island’s famous biodiversity.  An investigation by watchdog Global Witness and the Environmental Investigation Agency found that the instability fed into an illegal rosewood industry that is worth as much as $460,000 a day.
 
The next president, whoever he or she is, will inherit these challenges.  And Johannesburg-based researcher James Stent of Good Governance Africa says the ballot is uninspiring.  
 
“In general, neither three candidates are very good," said Stent.  "Ratsiraka represents the military elite, which has had far too much sway over the country for far too long.  Rajoelina is an autocratic ruler who’s been ruling under an illegitimate mandate for over four years. And Ravalomanana, unfortunately, even though he was democratically elected and had done a lot of good for the country, his presence in the political arena, either through him directly or through his wife, doesn’t inspire a vote of confidence for the stability and the long-term wellbeing of the country.”
 
Stent said observers are concerned about the potential for violence.
 
“African polls, from Kenya in 2007 to Zimbabwe in 2008, have always been fraught with violence when these fractious elites are at play, which is the case in Madagascar,” he said.
 
Toulou says he had seen no sign of intimidation yet, but notes that the campaigns haven't officially started.
 
Campaigning is scheduled to begin a month before the July 24 poll.  Parliamentary elections will be held alongside the first round of presidential voting.  If no candidate garners a clear majority of the vote; a presidential runoff could be held in September.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: john logan from: madagascar
May 13, 2013 2:26 PM
Forced Exile Condoned

If the Special Electoral Court approved Mrs. Ravalomanana's candidacy despite her not being in Madagascar at least 6 months before the election as required by law, it was because, as the court said, she was kept out of the country against her will.

Mrs. Madagascar returned to Madagascar on 27 July 2012 only to be forcefully expelled by Rajoelina's security forces.

People like Lucien Toulou and organizations like SADC who maintain that Mrs. Ravalomanana's candidacy is illegal, in effect condone forced exile as a means of keeping a person from returning to his/her country.

Mrs. Ravalomanana's forced expulsion was a violation of her human rights and a violation of the SADC roadmap.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
X
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid