In Context: Madagascar’s Rajoelina Confirms Election Withdrawal in U.N. Speech

In Context: Madagascar’s Rajoelina Confirms Election Withdrawal in U.N. Speech

Addressing the U.N. General Assembly yesterday, Madagascar's unelected transitional president, Andry Rajoelina, told world leaders that he had decided not to run in his country's upcoming presidential election, slated for Oct. 25. The decision, Rajoelina said, would “unblock the political crisis.”

Rajoelina came to office on the back of a military coup in 2009 that ousted elected President Marc Ravalomanana, who is currently living in exile in South Africa. As Simon Massey wrote in a WPR briefing last month, Madagascar has suffered from the ensuing protracted crisis:

The intervening period has seen deterioration in the rule of law, declining standards of governance, abuse of human rights and deeper poverty for most Malagasy. . . . Although Madagascar’s economy has not yet collapsed as many predicted, growth has slowed significantly, and the years since the coup have been a lost opportunity for development. Major donors, including the U.S., European Union and World Bank, initially withdrew nonhumanitarian financial support, which had previously amounted to 75 percent of government spending.

Under a regionally brokered road map back to democracy, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana were supposed to sit out the election. But after the ousted president's wife, Lalao Ravalomanana, opted to run as a proxy, Rajoelina changed his mind.

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