News / Africa

Voters Unsure Madagascar Election Will End Crisis

Voters Not Sure Madagascar Election Will End Crisisi
X
December 20, 2013 7:29 AM
Voters in Madagascar are returning to the polls Friday to elect a new president and parliament. Hopes are high that the new leadership will end a five-year political and economic crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation, where a former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, ousted a democratically elected president in 2009. Zlatica Hoke reports from Washington.
Voters Not Sure Madagascar Election Will End Crisis
Zlatica Hoke
Voters in Madagascar are returning to the polls Friday to elect a new president and parliament. Hopes are high that the new leadership will end a five-year political and economic crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation, where a former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, ousted a democratically elected president in 2009. 
 
The election runoff is being held after the first round on October 25 failed to produce an outright winner.  Richard Jean-Louis Robinson of the Avana party, a former health minister in the government of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, won about 30 percent of the vote in the first round. His rival, Hery Martial Rokotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, former finance minister in the transitional government headed by incumbent Andry Rajoelina, won about 15 percent.
 
Both candidates have promised to work on national reconciliation if elected, but after years of unrest following the 2009 coup, many in Madagascar are doubtful.
 
"The leaders say they want national reconciliation, but they can't even agree on just one debate," said Dizo Henri, a Antananarivo resident.
 
In 2009, the young mayor of Antananarivo, former disk jockey Andry Rajoelina, ousted the legally elected government of President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the army. Violence and political wrangling has left the country without a constitutional government since.
 
"The duration of this crisis has been too long. It's enough. By now we should have an elected president," said Roland Razafi, who is planning to vote at the upcoming poll.
 
After the coup, Madagascar came under international sanctions which caused the nation to lose foreign aid. Its tourism industry suffered as well.
 
Both presidential candidates say they will focus on rebuilding the economy, but political analyst Gilbert Raharizatovo think both lack the necessary experience.
 
"What Madagascar is looking for now is a man who's able to organize [things], who has a vision, so that's called a statesman. In Madagascar, it doesn't really exist. Why? Simply because, in my opinion, a statesman is a man who's been trained for long years to recognize what are the ethics of governance, the deontology of governance or the deontology of politics," said Raharizatovo.
 
Perhaps more importantly, the two candidates are seen as proxies for longtime rivals Rajoelina and Ravalomanana, both of whom are barred from running. For some voters, that means no end to the political impasse.
 
"This election is not a way out of the crisis, but the Madagascan people have no choice other than to choose between the two candidates," said one voter.
 
The run-off is taking place on the same day as parliamentary elections. The newly elected lawmakers will then nominate Madagascar's prime minister.

You May Like

US, Brazil's Climate-Change Plan: More Renewables, Less Deforestation

Officials say joint initiative on climate change will allow Brazil, United States to strengthen and accelerate cooperation on issues ranging from land use to clean energy More

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Reporting from Somali capital for past decade, Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal has been working at one of Mogadishu's leading radio stations covering parliament More

After Nearly a Century, Voodoo Opera Rises Again

Opera centers on character named Lolo, a Louisiana plantation worker and Voodoo priestess More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishui
X
Abdulaziz Billow
June 30, 2015 2:16 PM
Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video US Gay Marriage Ruling Yields Real-life Impact

Friday’s landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States is an outcome few thought possible just years ago, and shows a nation that increasingly tolerates and even celebrates the hopes and aspirations of gay people. VOA’s Michael Bowman spoke to a same-sex couple that will benefit from the high court ruling, and to a Christian scholar who is apprehensive about its potential consequences for America’s faith community.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Syrian Refugees Return to Tal Abyad

Syrian refugees in Turkey confirm they left their hometown of Tal Abyad because of intense fighting and coalition airstrikes, not because Kurdish fighters were engaged in ethnic cleansing, as some Turkish officials charged. VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer, in Tal Abyad, finds that civilians coming back to the town agree, as we hear in this report narrated by Roger Wilkison.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs