Madagascar’s special electoral court has removed the country’s incumbent president, the wife of his longtime rival and a former president from its list of presidential candidates. The court cancelled the candidacy of President Andry Rajoelina and Lalao Ravalomanana, who is the wife of Marc Ravalomanana, the leader Rajoelina overthrew in 2009. Former president Didier Ratsiraka was also ruled out. The court said neither Ravalomanana nor Ratsiraka met the physical residence requirements for candidacy. Ravalomanana lives in exile in South Africa, while Ratsiraka has not lived permanently on the island since fleeing to France in 2002.
The court said Rajoelina did not register his candidacy during the statutory period. Rajoelina said in January that he would not run in this year’s elections, but then registered his candidacy in May. He said he had decided to run because Lalao Ravalomanana’s candidacy was the same as having her husband stand.
The Southern African Development Community, a regional bloc of 15 countries, had recommended that neither Ravalomanana nor Rajoelina run as a way of resolving Madagascar’s political troubles. The island of 20 million people has been in political turmoil since Rajoelina, a former DJ, seized power in 2009.