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Madagascar Election: Andry Rajoelina Re-elected as President in Poll

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina has won in the first round of the presidential election held on November 16, 2023, despite a boycott by almost all opposition candidates. The election results, indicating Rajoelina’s win with 58.95 percent of the votes, are subject to validation by the Constitutional Court.

Andry Rajoelina Re-elected as President in Poll

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Andry Rajoelina came to power in 2009 following a mutiny that ousted former president Marc Ravalomanana. Despite skipping elections, Rajoelina made a successful comeback in 2018.

The recent election saw 11 million voters choosing between Rajoelina and 12 other candidates, with ten of the incumbents’ rivals refusing to campaign and urging voters to boycott the ballot, labeling it a farce.

Andry Rajoelina a former mayor of the capital Antananarivo, faces accusations of corruption, greed, and negligence regarding the exploitation of Madagascar’s natural resources, including its precious rosewood forests.

The opposition alleges that Andry Rajoelina turned a blind eye to the pillage of the country’s resources. The opposition comprising two former presidents led near daily, unauthorized protests in the weeks leading up to the election.

These protests were met with police dispersals using tear gas, reflecting the political tensions in the country.

The opposition, dissatisfied with the electoral process, denounced irregularities, including closed polling stations, a lack of ballot boxes, and the alleged use of state resources by Rajoelina for his campaign.

The opposition has accused the government of orchestrating an institutional coup in favor of the incumbent, asserting that the electoral process was manipulated to secure Andry Rajoelina’s reappointment.

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Concerns about the use of force to disperse opposition demonstrations led eight countries and organizations, including the European Union and the United States, to express their apprehension.

The opposition called for the suspension of the electoral process and urged the to intervene in order to ensure a fair and transparent election.

Madagascar has been in turmoil since media reports in June revealed that Rajoelina had acquired French nationality in 2014.

According to local law, the president should have lost his Madagascan nationality, questions about the validity of his candidacy and ability to lead the country.

This further fueled the opposition’s claims of an institutional coup and contributed to the instability in the lead-up to the election.

Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko one of the two opponents who remained in the race, has appealed to the High Constitutional Court to demand the cancellation of the vote results.

Randrianasoloniaiko alleges electoral fraud, stating that Rajoelina stole and bought the votes, and that the electoral commission manipulated the figures.

The court has nine days to confirm the results, and appeals can be filed within two days after the presentation of results by the electoral board.

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The controversy surrounding the election Rajoelina secured 58.95 percent of the votes in a context of low turnout, just over 46 percent.

The opposition, which had called for a boycott of the poll, declared that it would not recognize the results of the November 16 election, characterizing it as illegitimate and riddled with irregularities.

The joint opposition statement warned of political and social instability as a consequence of the election outcome.

International stakeholders including the European Union and the United States, have concern about the disproportionate use of force to quell opposition demonstrations.

The involvement of external actors underlines the significance of Madagascar’s politics disputed election on regional stability.

As Andry Rajoelina prepares for his third term in office, he faces challenges, including the need to address economic issues, create jobs, and improve the overall living conditions in a country where 75% of the population lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Political stability is crucial for Madagascar, which has experienced years of turbulence. Andry Rajoelina’s ability to navigate these challenges will shape the country in the coming years.

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