The confrontation intensifies before the first round

The confrontation intensifies before the first round

Two days before the first round of Madagascar’s presidential elections is scheduled to take place on Thursday 16 November, only three of the thirteen candidates, including outgoing President Andry Rajoelina, will seek the votes of voters. The other ten boycotted the campaign, and announced on November 13 that they were now calling on voters to boycott the vote. A look back at the pre-election crisis.

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3 minutes

With our special correspondent in Antananarivo,

Last June, we heard a clap of thunder: the people of Madagascar learned that President Rajoelina had French citizenship, something he had never revealed himself.

The second disturbing element is that Andry Rajoelina hands over the reins to his government during the election campaign and not to the President of the Senate, as stipulated in the Malagasy Constitution. However, the Supreme Constitutional Court supports these two points. Which makes the opposition say that this committee is partisan.

Doubts are also increasing about the impartiality of the Election Commission and the credibility of the lists, in a country where 20 to 30% of the population does not have civil status.

The group wants to reform the electoral process.

Eleven of the thirteen candidates, including two former presidents of the republic, Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Ragonarimanpiana, formed a rally calling on their supporters to demonstrate, almost daily, for more than a month. The demonstrators wear white clothes – while the presidential camp wears orange – and for a time they adopt the cauliflower slogan, because this vegetable was found by the police in the backpack of a simple passer-by, who they suspected of carrying weapons. Ultimately, the elections were postponed for a week, but without any fundamental reform of the electoral process.

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In Antananarivo, demonstrators then targeted May 13 Square, a place highly symbolic because it is the starting point for all regime changes in Madagascar. Police repression increases to prevent them. On November 8 and 11, about ten people were injured each time.

…While Andry Rajoelina wants to go to the elections at any cost

Therefore, the confrontation intensifies two days before the elections. Andry Rajoelina wants to go to the elections at any cost, motivated by his latest meeting in the capital on Sunday. While the group, which now enjoys the support of the President of the National Assembly and a large part of civil society and the international community, demands mediation, which Andry Rajoelina rejects, declaring that the people will decide.

What will be the legitimacy of the results of the ballot boxes under these circumstances? Participation will be an important element. But the biggest fear is that there will be irregularities after such a disputed presidential election. One of the only three candidates to present themselves, Cetinje Randrianasoloniako, who was part of the group, but left for the campaign, reiterated during the debate on Monday night with Andry Rajoelina and Cinderella outsider Daniela Radranirena, that we had to go to the negotiating table to resolve the crisis before there were deaths.

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