With Elections Looming, Madagascar’s Political Tensions Are Boiling Over

With Elections Looming, Madagascar’s Political Tensions Are Boiling Over
Madagascar’s president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, at a meeting in Beijing during a visit to China, March 27, 2017 (AP photo by Lintao Zhang).

Five years after emerging from its last political crisis, the island nation of Madagascar has once again entered a period of heightened tensions, this time over new electoral laws passed in the run-up to elections later this year. The current impasse is driven by familiar underlying factors, but it also features new fault lines and surprising alliances. In an email interview, Cornelia Tremann, an expert on Madagascar’s politics of development and the country’s relations with China, discusses what is behind the current standoff and the role outside actors might play in mediating it.

World Politics Review: What is the proximate cause of the latest political crisis in Madagascar?

Cornelia Tremann: The immediate cause of the current impasse is the political rally held in the capital, Antananarivo, on April 21, which was organized by the 73 opposition members of Parliament to protest new, recently passed electoral laws. The rally turned violent as police fired tear gas at demonstrators, several of whom later died from their injuries, although there are conflicting reports on the exact number of deaths. Madagascar’s High Constitutional Court has since ruled that some of those electoral laws are unconstitutional, leading the opposition to call for President Hery Rajaonarimampianina’s resignation.

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.