There’s no doubt that former Madagascar President Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina, who threw him out four years ago, have unfinished business. But that will have to wait. Friday’s presidential election on the island provides the arena for a battle by proxy. From his exile in South Africa, Ravalomanana, the man who went from yoghurt magnate to national leader to asylum seeker, has endorsed one of the 33 candidates, namely Jean Louis Robinson who served as his Health Minister. Here in the capital Antananarivo, former disc jockey and youthful interim President Rajoelina initially gave his stamp of approval to no fewer than three of the runners. However, it is former Finance Ninister Hery Rajaonarimampianina who has his final blessing. Only six of the 33 have a realistic chance of winning. All money is on there not being an outright winner when results are announced early next month. So the front runners will probably be back for the run-off to coincide with the parliamentary elections scheduled for December 20.
Logistical problems encountered now will be repeated in spades because the second round on this infrastructure-poor island the size of France will be contested at the height of the rainy season.
Madagascar is as ready now for elections as it was when they were delayed in May and September 2011, May and November last year and May, July and August this year.
But ready is a word used more lightly here. Candidates say a disturbingly high number of their supporters do not have voter’s cards. The independent electoral authority maintains that 90 percent of the cards have been produced. They will be available on polling day for voters who do not have them.
Full Article: Eyewitness News: Madagascar ‘ready’ for elections.