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Madagascar Sets Presidential Election Date

Beatrice Atallah, the President of the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition announces the official electoral calendar for presidential elections, August 1, 2012 in Antananarivo.
Madagascar is set to begin presidential elections next May, a key step in ending the political crisis resulting from a 2009 coup.

The election commission said Wednesday the first round of voting will take place May 8, 2013, with the second round taking place on July 3. The commission said parliamentary elections will also take place on July 3.

The Indian Ocean nation has been mired in political crisis since March 2009 when military-backed opposition leader Andry Rajoelina ousted then-president Marc Ravalomanana.

Ravalomanana has spent the last three years living in exile in South Africa. He has said he wants to return to Madagascar to restore democracy.

However, he was sentenced in absentia to life in prison for killings committed by his presidential guard ahead of the coup.

Last September, Ravalomanana agreed to a plan that allowed President Rajoelina to remain in power until elections are held.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.