In announcing his resignation last month, Madagascar’s finance minister, Gervais Rakotoarimanana, said conditions were not in place for him to succeed in the role, though he did not elaborate. While respected by international donors, Rakotoarimanana was not as beloved by other members of the government, and the private sector also viewed him warily. In an email interview, Richard R. Marcus, professor and director of the Global Studies Institute and the International Studies Program at California State University, Long Beach, describes the politics behind Rakotoarimanana’s resignation and how it fits in with preparations for elections in 2018, which he says are shaping up to be a “race toward the bottom.”
WPR: What appear to be the reasons for Finance Minister Gervais Rakotoarimanana’s resignation, and what might be behind the dispute between him and the president?
Richard R. Marcus: The official reason Gervais Rakotoarimanana gave for his departure from the Finance Ministry is a “divergence in point of view with the state.” He went on to explain that the conditions for completing his mission were not fulfilled. All of this is certainly true, but it masks the deeper issues.