Global Insider: Madagascar’s Political Crisis

In May, lawmakers from the European Union and the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group urged Madagascar to install a transitional leadership ahead of planned elections. In an email interview, Stephen Ellis, a Madagascar expert at the African Studies Center in Leiden, the Netherlands, discussed Madagascar's ongoing political crisis.

WPR: What is the background of Madagascar's political crisis?

Stephen Ellis: The immediate origin of Madagascar's political crisis was the forced resignation of the elected president, Marc Ravalomanana, on March 17, 2009, in an effective military coup. Ravalomanana had become unpopular -- not only within Madagascar's political elite, but also among aid donors -- on account of his combining the presidency with his extensive private business interests. In early 2009, Ravalomanana's government came under pressure from demonstrators in the capital, Antananarivo, backed by prominent opposition politicians and supported by some businesspeople and elements in the army. Dozens were killed in the protests, including when security forces opened fire on a crowd in front of the presidential palace on Feb. 7. Realizing that he was losing his grip on power, Ravalomanana tried to hand power to a military committee in an effort to exclude his main political challenger, the former mayor of Antananarivo, Andry Rajoelina. However, the military promptly handed power to Rajoelina anyway. Since then, Rajoelina has continued to act as the unelected head of state. Taking a longer view, this is the latest in a series of political upheavals since the downfall of Madagascar's first post-independence government in 1972.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.