Madagascar – Presidential election

Madagascar’s long-awaited presidential election finally took place on 25 October.

This was the first election since the ‘coup’ in March 2009, whereby President Marc Ravalomanana resigned, or was forced to resign depending on your interpretation of events, and his place was taken by Andry Rajoelina, who became the President of the High Transitional Authority. A new constitution was approved and promulgated in December 2010.

The post-‘coup’ political process has been marked by ongoing negotiations between the three major players in the system – Rajoelina, Ravalomanana, who is in exile in South Africa and who has not been able to return safely to Madagascar, and Didier Ratsiraka, another former president. Various agreements have been reached at different times, only for them to collapse. For example, Ravalomanana announced that he would not stand as a candidate at any future presidential election and Rajoelina agreed. However, Ravalomanana’s wife was then put forward as a presidential candidate and Rajoelina decided that he too would stand.

Finally, an agreed list of candidates did emerge and the election took place. The electoral process was relatively calm and international observers seemed relatively happy with the election.

There were 33 presidential candidates. The full results are not yet available, but the top two candidates who will compete at the second round on 20 December do seem to have emerged.

  • Jean-Louis Robinson – 27.7%
  • Hery Rajaonarimampianina – 14.6%

The third-placed candidate, according to the Electoral Commission’s figures, has only 9.4% of the vote. So, it does look likely that the second round will pit Robinson against Rajaonarimampianina (a nightmare name for Twitter). As the results are updated, for example here, the percentages do not seem to be shifting very much.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Robinson is the preferred candidate of former president Ravalomanana, whereas Rajaonarimampianina is Rajoelina’s preferred candidate.

So, all is to play for, and anything could happen. Will Rajoelina allow a Ravalomanana candidate to win? Will he be able to stop it? How will those who voted for the eliminated candidates vote at the second round? Given parliamentary elections were held on the same day, what will be the make up of the new parliament? These and many other questions remain unanswered, even though Madagascar’s long transition process has taken a big step forward.

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