News / Africa

Madagascar Preparing for Presidential Run-Off Election

A man walks past campaign posters outside a polling center in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 25, 2013.
A man walks past campaign posters outside a polling center in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 25, 2013.
Reuters
Madagascar holds a second round of voting on Friday to complete its first presidential election since a 2009 coup that scared off foreign donors and investors.
 
The two contestants in the run-off vote are not political heavyweights, but are allies of the island's two main rivals: the coup leader-turned-president, Andry Rajoelina, and the man he ousted with the army's help, Marc Ravalomanana.
 
Ravalomanana and Rajoelina had agreed not to run in the election in a regionally-brokered deal to defuse tensions. A last minute attempt by Rajoelina to run when Ravalomanana's wife stepped into the race led to a court order blocking both.
 
Below are snapshots of the two candidates:

Madagascar's Presidential candidate Robinson Jean-Louis salutes his supporters during prayers and a post-elections rally in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 26, 2013.
Madagascar's Presidential candidate Robinson Jean-Louis salutes his supporters during prayers and a post-elections rally in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 26, 2013.

Jean Louis Robinson
 
The former health minister is backed by Ravalomanana, who has been exiled in South Africa since dissident troops swung behind anti-government protests that led to his 2009 overthrow.
 
The former leader turned to Robinson only after his wife Lalao was barred from running for president.
 
Robinson, 61, emerged the frontrunner in October's first round with 21 percent of the vote and the clear winner in the capital, Antananarivo, where there is widespread frustration at the economic malaise gripping the nickel-producing island.
 
Robinson, a physician with a black belt in judo, says the political fight won't be over until Ravalomanana returns to the island that lies off southern Africa. He has declared Lalao Ravalomanana will be his prime minister if he wins the vote.
 
She has been glued to his side during campaigning.
 
An adviser to Ravalomanana's first prime minister in 2002, Robinson was health minister in 2004-08 and minister of sports and culture in 2008-09.
 
He promises an improved version of Ravalomanana's Madagascar Action Plan to promote development in one of Africa's poorest countries by increasing investment, collecting more taxes and launching an agricultural revolution. That plan briefly boosted economic growth to about 7 percent a year before the coup.
 
Supporters attend the final campaign rally of Madagascar's presidential candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 23, 2013.
Supporters attend the final campaign rally of Madagascar's presidential candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina Rakotoarimanana in the capital Antananarivo, Oct. 23, 2013.
Hery Rajaonarimampianina
 
A finance minister under Rajoelina, 55-year-old Rajaonarimampianina has pitched himself as the best-placed person to marshal a recovery of Madagascar's crippled economy.
 
Donors turned off budgetary aid taps and foreign investors fled after Rajoelina's coup, depriving the government of cash and stunting growth. Even so, policymakers have been praised for keeping spending in check, prices stable and inflation at bay.
 
Educated in Canada, Rajaonarimampianina's campaign has focused on restoring security, building new roads and improving access to education.
 
He served as finance minister from 2009 to 2013, stepping down to run for president. He is backed by Rajoelina, so likely has the support of the military commanders who backed the former disk jockey's power grab five years ago.
 
He won 16 percent of the vote in the first round and will need to win some of the major coastal cities to offset Robinson's advantage in the capital, analysts say.

You May Like

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid