Madagascar is in a deep crisis. Since 2009 the island state has been ruled by a controversial interim president. A court ruling has now opened the way for long overdue elections. The people of the Indian Ocean island state of Madagascar should have gone to the polls back in 2009, the year in which their country’s ongoing political crisis escalated. The government of President Marc Ravolamanana had become an object of hatred for many because of widespread bribery and corruption. There were violent demonstrations and, backed by the army, Andry Rajoelina ousted the unpopular ruler and declared himself the new interim president. The former mayor of the capital Antananarivo promised swift elections – but that promise has yet to be fulfilled.
“Politics are blocked,” says Jean Eric Rakotoarisoa, an expert in constitutional law at the university of Antananarivo. Supporters of the interim president and of the Ravalomanana Movement who back the ousted president appear irreconcilable.
A road map signed in 2011 as the result of international pressure has had no effect. One of its main demands: presidential elections. However the date has been repeatedly postponed as arguments raged over who should be allowed to run for president.
A court ruling has now raised hopes that the blockade could soon end. On Saturday (17.08.2013) the country’s electoral court, known by its French acronym CES, ruled that three particularly controversial candidates and another five more were ineligible. The three are the 39-year-old interim president Andry Rajoelina, Lalao Ravolamanana, the wife of the man he replaced, and former president Didier Ratsiraka, who was ousted in 2002.