Madagascar: Rivals both claim poll win, allege fraud | AFP

Madagascar’s presidential candidates both claimed victory Saturday in run-off polls, each accusing the other of rigging the vote as results started to trickle in. Mutual mud-slinging marked the long wait as counting continued after elections on Friday aimed at pulling the island from the doldrums following a coup four years ago. The tiff resembled disputed polls in 2001, when both candidates’ insistence on an outright first-round win led to deadly clashes. Former health minister Robinson Jean Louis, candidate of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, told AFP he expected to win 56 per cent, while his opponent Hery Rajaonarimampianina claimed to have taken between 60 and 65 percent. “Up to now I’m the winner, and we had a little party last night at our headquarters because the voters who came showed we won, at least according to the results we’ve received,” Jean Louis, 61, told AFP in an interview Saturday. His camp will challenge vote-rigging in court, the freemason doctor said.

Madagascar: Voters want presidential run-off to end crisis | Reuters

Madagascar stages a run-off presidential election on Friday, but old rifts may persist, extending a crisis begun by a coup five years ago that deterred investors and donors of aid to one of Africa’s poorest nations. Neither candidate scored a commanding victory in October’s first round. Both rely on supporters of their respective sponsors, outgoing President Andry Rajoelina and the man he deposed with the army’s help in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana. Voters may not deliver a clear mandate to either Jean Louis Robinson, an ally of Ravalomanana, or Hery Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister backed by Rajoelina.

Madagascar: Landmark run-off election in Madagascar | Al Jazeera

Madagascans are taking to the polls in a run-off elections aimed at pulling the island out of the political and economic doldrums and restoring democracy. Citizens hope Friday’s vote will end the crisis sparked by Andry Rajoelina’s coup four years ago, which paralyzed much of the government and caused foreign donors to cancel aid. Both Rajoelina and the man he ousted in March 2009, Marc Ravalomanana, have been blocked from running, amid international pressure over fears of a return to violence. Instead, proxy candidates took part and won the two top places during a first round of voting on October 25. Freemason doctor and former health minister Robinson Jean Louis is seen as a slight favourite after winning 21.16 percent in the first round.

Madagascar: Electoral court rejects demand for cancellation of election results |

Madagascar’s Special Electoral Court (CES) has rejected a demand for the cancellation of election results, the CES said on Monday. Five of 33 candidates in the first round of presidential election held in Madagascar on Oct. 25 had demanded the revocation of election results under the pretext of “fraud, use of public prerogatives by certain candidates and bad organization of the election.” The candidates making the demand include Voninahitsy Jean Eugene, who won 2.13 percent, and Lahiniriko Jean, who scored 0.87 percent. Some candidates had also asked for postponing the election or re-organizing the first round of election. “The CES declares admissible applications … asking cancellation of the vote nationally, but rejects as unfounded,” the CES said in its website.

Madagascar: Presidential Election Results Awaited |

The people of Madagascar are waiting for the outcome of Saturday’s election.They hope the new leadership will lift their country out of political chaos and rescue it from economic ruin. It is a long list. Thirty three candidates competed in Friday’s presidential elections in Madagascar, far more than the last election in 2006. Parties are playing a subordinate role. “You’ll look for familiar candidates’ names in vain,” said Jean Herve Rakotozanany, a radio journalist who has been covering Madagascan politics for the last 15 years. Some of the candidates’ names were completely unknown to him. Initially it had seemed that well-known heavyweights such as Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Rajoelina would be contesting this election. Ravalomanana was president until the beginning of 2009. He was then ousted by Rajoelina and fled into exile.

Madagascar: European, African observers say Madagascar election credible | The Star Online

Madagascar’s first presidential election since a military-backed coup was free and fair, European Union (EU) and Southern African observers said on Sunday, as early results trickled out two days after the poll. The announcements were a boost for the Indian Ocean island which needs a credible vote to rebuild investors’ confidence and win back aid suspended after dissident troops propelled Andry Rajoelina into power in 2009. But foreign envoys warned there was still time for an upset. Full results cold take as long as a week to emerge and the two front-runners both anticipate a second-round runoff, prolonging the uncertainty. “This election has been free, transparent and credible,” the head of the EU observer mission, Maria Muniz de Urquiza, said. The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which suspended Madagascar as a member after Rajoelina’s power grab, said the vote had “reflected the will of Malagasy people”.

Madagascar: Vote seeks to end crisis | IOL News

Madagascar will hold elections on Friday in an effort to end political tensions that erupted in a 2009 coup and lift the aid-dependent country out of poverty. The island nation, off Africa’s east coast in the Indian Ocean, plunged into turmoil after Andry Rajoelina, a former disc jockey and mayor of the capital Antananarivo, seized power with the help of the military. Ousted President Marc Ravalomanana went into exile in South Africa. The coup resulted in the suspension of much-needed foreign aid. Madagascar was suspended from the African Union and the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, or SADC, until a constitutionally elected government was restored. With 33 candidates running in the election, it could prove difficult for a clear winner to emerge in the first round. If none of the candidates garners more than 50 percent of the votes, the two top candidates will compete in a runoff scheduled for Dec. 20. Nine candidates, including three key politicians, were barred from taking part in the polls as part of a plan to resolve the political crisis. Former presidents Rajoelina and Didier Ratsiraka and former president Ravalomanana’s wife, Lalao, were excluded for failing to comply with the country’s electoral laws.

Madagascar: ‘Ready’ for elections | Eyewitness News

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.

Madagascar: Poll finally on the cards | Mail & Guardian

After four years of endless meetings in Maputo, Pretoria, Gaborone and Addis Ababa and of commitments never adhered to and agreements reneged upon, mediators believe the crisis in Madagascar might soon be over. This follows the decision by a special electoral court in Madagascar to bar the three main protagonists in the current crisis from participating in upcoming elections. Coup leader and interim president Andry Rajoelina, Lalao Ravalomanana the wife of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, and former president Didier Ratsiraka have been disqualified on technical grounds from the October poll, something the international community believes will give a fresh start to a country mired in political disputes since the coup in March 2009. This week the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator of the crisis, former Moz­ambican president Joaquim Chissano, told the Mail & Guardian that he believes an important milestone has been reached and the elections could provide an opportunity for Madagascar to emerge from the crisis. “We hope that this time the consensus will stick and it will lead the nation to the elections,” he said.

Madagascar: Date set for election, three candidates barred | Deutsche Welle

Madagascar’s electoral commission has said the country will hold a long-delayed presidential poll aimed at ending a political crisis. Three of the frontrunners for the post have been disqualified by an electoral court. Poll organizers said on Thursday that the presidential election would be held on October 25, in a vote aimed at ending the constitutional crisis brought about by a coup four years ago. Elections for Madagascar’s national parliament have been slated for December 20, when a second round of presidential voting is also to take place if there is no clear winner in the first poll. Two previous dates have been postponed because of disagreements over who should be allowed to run for the presidency, and a lack of funding. Last week, a court removed the names of three serious contenders for the presidency. They include current president and former disc jockey Andry Rajoelina, who came to power in a coup that ousted and exiled former President Marc Ravalomanana. Rajoelina was said to have not submitted his candidacy ahead of the deadline.

Madagascar: Madagascar’s long road to elections | Deutsche Welle

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.

Madagascar: Court bans president and rival’s wife from standing for election |

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.

Madagascar: Three candidates may face sanctions | News24

The European Union, the United States and the African Union proposed on Wednesday imposing sanctions such as travel bans on Madagascar’s president and two other presidential candidates unless they withdrew from a planned election. The former French colony has been in crisis since 2009 when President Andry Rajoelina seized power with military support, ousting former President Marc Ravalomanana and triggering turmoil that scared off investors and tourists. Rajoelina and Ravalomanana had reached a deal with regional states not to run in this year’s poll. But when Ravalomanana’s wife, Lalao Ravalomanana, chose to run, Rajoelina said the pact had broken down and put his name forward. As a result, foreign donors suspended election financing and the government had to postpone the vote by a month to 23 August.

Madagascar: Interim government postpones elections | News24

Madagascar’s interim government Wednesday postponed key elections, meant to end a four-year political deadlock on the island, after a special court found outside factors had derailed the poll preparations. The Government Council decided “to call on the CENIT (election commission) to determine an election calendar”, it announced in a statement, opening the way for a new vote date. An electoral court on Tuesday declared a force majeure had compromised organisation for the July 24 presidential and parliamentary polls. It found the suspension of donor funds and international rejection of three controversial presidential candidates made it unlikely the Indian Ocean island would be ready by that date.

Madagascar: Ravalomanana’s wife may run for president | News24

The wife of ousted leader Marc Ravalomanana has been named presidential candidate in Madagascar’s elections due in July, the former ruling party has announced. Lalao Ravalomanana was picked as the candidate of her husband’s political party at a weekend meeting, party officials said on Monday. “It was absolutely a natural consensus between members of the Ravalomanana Movement and [ex]-president Ravalomanana,” Mamy Rakotoarivelo, a representative of the party told AFP. But her nomination may inflame tensions in the troubled Indian Ocean island nation and complicate the holding of elections due on July 24.

Madagascar: Madagascar electoral commission plans for a May 8 presidential vote next year, with run-off | The Washington Post

Madagascar’s election commission says the island nation plans to hold its presidential election next year on May 8. Election commission president Beatrice Attalah said Wednesday that the country will hold a run-off on July 3, 2013, as well as elections for the National Assembly the same day. Attalah said elections for municipal posts will be held Oct. 23, 2013.

Madagascar: Election law could block Ravalomanana | News24

Draft legislation in Madagascar banning convicted criminals from standing in elections could prevent exiled former president Marc Ravalomanana from making a comeback in next year’s presidential poll. In a copy of the document obtained by AFP, candidates “convicted of crimes or offences” will not be able to stand in elections. The text stipulates that “individuals who are convicted and not pardoned are neither eligible as candidates nor can vote”, thereby excluding Ravalomanana who faces life in prison in Madagascar.

Madagascar: Madagascar unveils new electoral commission | Africa Review

Madagascar’s cabinet has agreed on a new elections body in another step towards holding a planned ballot this year after the term of its predecessor came to an end Wednesday. The Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition (CENIT) replaces the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) unilaterally appointed in March 2010 by interim President Andry Rajoelina. CENI was also blamed for holding a controversial and widely-criticised referendum on November 17 of the same year. It is another step towards the envisaged holding of elections this year in keeping with a roadmap brokered by the SADC bloc last September.

Madagascar: Two days of talks, but still no end to Madagascar impasse | Mail and Guardian

Madagascar’s feuding political leaders ended two days of talks on Tuesday without signing a deal on ending the crisis sparked by strongman Andry Rajoelina’s takeover of the island two years ago.

The talks, which were convened by the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC), ended at about 6pm (4pm GMT) with a press statement that sought to highlight the common ground between the 11 political parties present but did not say why the leaders had failed to reach an agreement.