Madagascar: Banned Election Candidates Adamant

The ongoing impasse in Madagascar’s presidential election process that has lasted several months over disputes as to who is qualified to run, now looks set to continue.

Three major candidates recently banned by the Special Elections Court from standing failed to propose replacements by the close of the deadline on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.

Radio France Internationale, RFI reported yesterday, August 21, 2013 that Transitional President, Andry Rajoelina, former First Lady, Lalao Ravalomanana and ex-President Didier Ratsiraka, are insisting on contesting the election that was due for July 24, 2013 but was postponed indefinitely as a result of the deadlock. Instead, Lalao Ravalomanana on Tuesday evening lodged a complaint against her disqualification.

The Special Elections Court was expected to study the petition yesterday and publish the final list of retained presidential candidates. Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community, SADC mediator, former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano, was expected in Madagascar yesterday on a three-day trip to jumpstart the electoral process. The situation became more complicated on Tuesday when Hery Rajaonarimampianina, the Minister of Finance, submitted his nomination papers for the forthcoming presidential poll.

The new electoral court was set up recently to review the list of 41 candidates approved by its predecessor last May. The candidacies of Rajoelina, Lalao and Ratsiraka, which did not meet electoral rules, have been internationally condemned and have delayed the much-awaited vote expected to lift Madagascar out of a four-year-old political and economic mire. The three had refused to stand aside even in the face of threats of sanctions.

Madagascar, heavily reliant on international aid, has been plunged into political limbo since Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and ex-mayor of the capital Antananarivo, seized power in 2009. He swore not to run for president but changed his mind when the wife of his exiled rival, Lalao Ravalomanana, declared she would be a candidate. Rajoelina submitted his candidacy after the deadline and Lalao did not live in Madagascar six months prior to the nominations as the election rules require. Ratsiraka filed his candidacy papers two days after he returned from 11 years of exile in France.