Last month, Solonandrasana Olivier Mahafaly became prime minister of Madagascar after Jean Ravelonarivo resigned, ostensibly, due to disagreements with President Hery Rajaonarimampianina over development policy. In an email interview, Professor Richard R. Marcus, the director of the Global Studies Institute at California State University, Long Beach, discussed politics in Madagascar and the country’s political reconciliation.
WPR: What are the reasons behind Madagascan Prime Minister Jean Ravelonarivo’s resignation?
Richard Marcus: Ravelonarivo was brought in to perform an impossible role. His predecessor, Roger Kolo, survived only 276 days in office, largely due to his confrontations with President Rajaonarimampianina and his inability to unite diverse political factions. Rajaonarimampianina’s appointment of Ravelonarivo, a general, as prime minister was clever and telling. As a leader in the public, private, civil society and military sectors, Ravelonarivo was a sort of bridge between divergent political interests, the private sector and an uncomfortably disquieted military.