Madagascar’s Presidential Election: Turmoil and Tensions on the Horizon

Andry Rajoelina, a former DJ, is persisting with his quest for a second term as president despite strong opposition and a significant number of candidates opting out. The election, scheduled for Thursday, initially had 12 contenders, but 10 candidates withdrew, citing concerns about the flawed voting process. Notable figures like Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, former rivals, are among those boycotting, leading to peaceful protests met with force from security forces.

Recent weeks have seen intensified protests, prompting calls from the opposition, churches, and citizens for a postponement. The country’s top court delayed the election by a week following clashes that left a candidate injured.

The hope for a break from Madagascar’s history of disputed votes and political instability seems uncertain, with criticism directed at Rajoelina’s candidacy due to his acquisition of French citizenship in 2014. The opposition argues he should be disqualified, but the highest court ruled in his favor.

Amid allegations of a biased electoral commission, opposition leaders are demanding a special court to address election disputes. Rajoelina faces competition from Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, who, despite supporting the boycott, chooses to participate, and Sendrison Daniela Raderanirina, a candidate addressing urgent issues with less financial backing.

Despite economic and human rights challenges, Rajoelina remains confident, vowing no one can thwart his victory. The country grapples with issues like declining school attendance, water and electricity shortages, and concerns about deforestation affecting biodiversity, as highlighted by the World Bank and local NGOs.

Critics point out that Rajoelina’s promises from the 2018 election have seen minimal fulfillment, adding to the discontent. Madagascar, with a history of political instability since gaining independence in 1960, faces a pivotal moment in its democratic journey.

Original Source: France 24

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *