The first round of the long-awaited presidential election in Madagascar was held on 25 October. The previous presidential election was held in 2006 and this was the first national election since the ‘coup’ in February 2009.
At the first round of the election, the top two candidates were Jean Louis Robinson, who was supported by the president who was ousted in the ‘coup’, Marc Ravalomanana, and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who was supported by the president who took power after the coup, Andry Rajoelina. At the first round Robinson had a reasonable lead over Rajaonarimampianina of 21.1% to 15.9%.
The second round of the election was held on 20 December. The result is not yet officialized, but on Friday the Electoral Commission announced that Hery Rajaonarimampianina had won the election with 53.5% of the vote. The turnout was 50.8% compared with 61.9% at the first round.
The Robinson/Ravalomanana camp is contesting the result. They claim that their candidate won 52.9% of the vote. They are claiming hundreds of irregularities and have appealed to the international community.
The resulting situation is very difficult. The country, once again, is split in two. Former president Marc Ravalomanana is still in exile in South Africa, having been sentenced in absentia. Even if the election result is declared valid, as is probably the most likely outcome, the question remains as to what will happen to the president of the Transition Authority, Andry Rajoelina. It is unlikely that he will simply retire from the political scene. The results of the legislative election, which were held at the same time as the presidential election, have not been announced. The new president’s authority will depend at least in part of these results. In short, Madagascar is still in transition.