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High Tensions as Madagascar Goes to the Polls: 10 Presidential Candidates Boycott Election

There are 11 million citizens with the right to vote in this election round. Tensions are high, with ten presidential candidates boycotting the vote, while the government declared a night of curfew a few hours after the polls opened

Leone Spallino – Vatican City

The polling stations for the presidential elections in Madagascar opened today, Thursday 16 November. The island is set to elect its next president amid growing political tensions. There are thirteen candidates, but ten of them have decided to boycott the elections, citing the lack of guarantees for the transparency of voting operations as the reason. President Andry Rajoelina is trying to be elected for the second time, promoting a policy of public works and agricultural self-sufficiency: the difficult economic conditions and the repression exercised in the country are, however, contested by the opposition. Only two other candidates remained in the running to challenge him: Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, Rajoelina’s former political ally and judo champion, and Sendrison Daniela Raderanirina.

The president and the opposition

Street clashes had reached Antananarivo at the beginning of November, where the demonstrations ended with the wounding of 16 people and the temporary arrest of a candidate. The protests, despite a ban on public rallies, are the culmination of calls by many election candidates to take to the streets against what, according to them, would represent “an institutionalized coup d’état”. This accusation arises from the repeated rulings of the Constitutional Court in favor of President Rajoelina, which allowed him to run for the presidency despite having recently acquired French citizenship, and to postpone the election date. The opposition also claims that the electoral commission is not truly independent. Rajoelinalo’s political history saw him president for the first time in 2009, when he was still only mayor of Antananarivo, following a coup that ousted his predecessor, Marc Ravalomanana. He remained in office until 2014, and then ran again in 2018, winning against Ravalomanana.

The economic situation of the country

Madagascar is a particularly poor state, with an economy dependent on agriculture and tourism, as well as on international aid. The island is also one of the areas in the world most impacted by climate change, which causes serious damage to the environment and agriculture. The famine of 2021 is emblematic, generated by an anomalous drought attributable to the impact of the climate, which however has not yet exhausted its negative effects: the rains are increasingly scarce and irregular, and more than one and a half million people remain in condition of serious food insecurity. This despite the country producing less than 0.01% of global CO2 emissions. The economic challenges that the next president will have to face will rely heavily on mitigating the effects of climate change, already considered a priority by the current government in office.

2023-11-16 13:37:24
#Seats #open #presidential #elections #Madagascar

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