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Madagascar Leader Won’t Contest in Election

Madagascar’s President, Andry Rajoelina, surprised many by announcing on state television that he will not participate in the upcoming presidential elections he has scheduled for 26 November, said a political analyst in the capital, Antananarivo.

Guilo Ramilison said President Rajoelina’s announcement is a relief to most Malagasys who want a quick resolution to the ongoing political crisis.

Madagascar leader Andre Rajoelina
Madagascar leader Andre Rajoelina

“It is like a big relief to Malagasy citizens now… because that transitional period has been lengthened and it is becoming more than a trouble to us. Because the international community, which (includes) most of the donors, only said that, if (Mr.) Rajoelina, the president, keep on taking on decision only from his part, then there would be no solution for Madagascar,” he said.

In his televised speech, Mr. Rajoelina said there would be a national convention from 27th to 29th May, aimed at drafting a new constitution ahead of the elections.

But, opponents say Mr. Rajoelina’s decision not to contest the November elections is calculated to ease international pressure on him to resolve the ongoing political stalemate.

Ramilison said Mr. Rajoelina might not win the elections if he changes his mind to contest in the elections.

“If he contests, then he will only get just above one percent because…he said… during the presidential announcement, that a real president is the one who sticks to his ideals…I am the president and I want to show to everyone that I am responsible. So, if he changes his mind, (just) like what happened to one of his mentors…in 1996, when he was the prime minister…and he won only three percent. So, I don’t think (Mr.) Rajoelina will make the same mistake,” he said.

Former President Marc Ravalomanana
Former President Marc Ravalomanana

Several peace talks, including President Rajoelina, former President Marc Ravalomanana, as well as all other political parties, that were mediated by the African Union, have failed to yield positive results.

The African Union imposed sanctions on Madagascar following the political crisis that analysts say keep deteriorating.