Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Netanyahu deletes tweet featuring photo of James Foley

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 22 August 2014

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Read more

FOCUS

Lifting the veil over China's air pollution

Read more

ENCORE!

Tango Takeover in Paris

Read more

WEB NEWS

Calls for ISIS media blackout after execution of James Foley

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Steely resolve of reporters exploited by pared-down employers'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

US judge calls Argentina bond swap offer illegal

Read more

  • Europe launches navigation satellites to rival GPS

    Read more

  • Besieged by problems, Hollande faces unhappy return from summer holidays

    Read more

  • Iraqi Sunnis quit govt talks after mosque massacre

    Read more

  • US demands Russia withdraw aid convoy from Ukraine

    Read more

  • US rights group sues government over ‘deportation mill’

    Read more

  • PSG fall flat once more against Evian

    Read more

  • Fed Chair says US job market still hampered by Great Recession

    Read more

  • August 22, 1914: The bloodiest day in French military history

    Read more

  • Central African Republic announces coalition cabinet

    Read more

  • Hamas publicly executes "informers"

    Read more

  • French firebrand leftist to quit party presidency, but not politics

    Read more

  • Fear of Ebola sky-high among Air France workers

    Read more

  • US says Islamic State threat 'beyond anything we've seen'

    Read more

  • Malaysia mourns as remains of MH17 victims arrive home

    Read more

  • Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu set to be Erdogan's new PM

    Read more

  • Interactive: Relive the Liberation of Paris in WWII

    Read more

Africa

Old political rivalries overshadow landmark Madagascar poll

© FRANCE 24

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-12-20

After years of political turbulence, Madagascar’s voters cast their ballots in a presidential runoff on Friday amid fears that the old political rifts that plunged this island nation into turmoil five years ago would resurface.

The two rival candidates in the runoff are each backed by Madagascar’s political heavyweights and arch foes, who have themselves been banned from running in the 2013 race.

Jean Louis Robinson, who won 21 percent of the votes in the first round on October 25, is backed by former president, Marc Ravalomanana.

The other candidate, Hery Rajaonarimampianina – who won 16 percent in the first round – is an ally of outgoing President Andry Rajoelina.

Ravalomanana was ousted in a 2009 coup that resulted in the army helping Rajoelina – a disc jockey-turned-statesman – come to power.

The coup plunged the impoverished island nation into an economic and political crisis as foreign donors suspended aid. Under international pressure, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana have been banned from running for president.

But with each man essentially wielding a proxy on the ballot paper, Madagascans voting on Friday expressed little confidence that the election could set their country back on track.

"I do not expect a miracle in this election," Eric Nantenaina Rakotomanana, a 31-year-old voter, told Reuters. "I hope they [the candidates] will accept the results... It will be difficult to redress the economic situation."

Rakotomanana’s fears were mirrored by several voters lining up to cast their ballots.
"The results will create problems between the two candidates, everybody is going to ask if there has been fraud and I'm not the only one to think like that, I've heard it elsewhere,” said another voter.

Despite the anxieties, the atmosphere across the country on Friday was mostly calm,  according to international election observers in the field.

"From what we've observed up to now is that everything happened as normal," EU observer chief Maria Muniz de Urquiza told the AFP. "We haven't received negative reports from our observers deployed across the country."

As polls closed on Friday evening, the country’s top police official said voting in the second round was more peaceful than in October's first round.

"In the first round, there were a few incidents in rural areas, but we've heard nothing during the second round," national paramilitary police commander Richard Ravalomanana told the AFP.

‘This is a turning point’

Voters' pessimism was not, however, reflected by the main candidates as they cast their ballots on Friday.

"This is a turning point in the history of Madagascar," Robinson told AFP after casting his vote.

His opponent, Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister under Rajoelina, expressed hopes that Friday election would enable an economic recovery.

"I am still a new force and I've added a bit of a unifying force to the second round," he said before the vote.

Rajaonarimampianina also urged donors and investors to return to the island. "I've told them before and I say it again, I'm going to put in place the rule of law and good governance," said the 55-year-old businessman-politician.

Speaking to reporters after casting his vote, outgoing president Rajoelina said, "I trust the Malagasy people and forces to conduct the elections normally and await the results."

Parliamentary elections raise fears of rival camps

Madagascar also held parliamentary elections on Friday amid fears that results could lead to rival political camps within the assembly.

More than 2,000 candidates contested the 119 parliamentary seats – many of them as independents. Madagascar has an estimated 7.5 million registered voters.

Initial results are expected over the weekend. The election commission is expected to announce the official results by January 7, which must be confirmed by the election commission by February 18.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2013-12-20

  • MADAGASCAR

    Madagascar votes in landmark run-off election

    Read more

  • MADAGASCAR

    Run-off likely as Madagascar vote results trickle in

    Read more

  • FRANCE

    Madagascar lynching victim pleads innocence with last words

    Read more

COMMENT(S)