Rajoelina bows out of Madagascar vote after ban
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Madagascar’s transitional president Andry Rajoelina said Friday he will step down after the country's presidential elections later this year, following a court's decision to ban him and two other leading presidential hopefuls from running.
Madagascar’s transitional president Andry Rajoelina said Friday that he “respects the decision of the special electoral court” to ban him from running in the country's next presidential election.
“I am ready for a peaceful and democratic handover of power after the elections,” Rajoelina said in an address broadcast on state radio and TV on Friday night.
The electoral commission and the United Nations announced on Thursday that the first round of the presidential election would take place on October 25, followed by a possible runoff and legislative elections on December 20.
On August 17, the special electoral court had rejected the applications of eight presidential candidates including the incumbent Andry Rajoelina, former first lady Lalao Ravalomanana and ex-president Didier Ratsiraka.
Rivalries between supporters of the three candidates have underpinned political instability since Andry Rajoelina toppled president Marc Ravalomanana from power in 2009.
Two candidates remain close to Rajoelina
But although Rajoelina claimed he had “sacrificed his personal ambition for the love of the nation”, he has emerged from the transition period with the upper hand, according to Radio France Internationale (RFI).
His main rivals, Marc and Lalao Ravalomanana, have been sidelined, while two approved candidates are close to him and could help him maintain his influence if one of them was elected, RFI noted.
The Ravalomanana camp has rejected the court’s ruling, describing the vetting of candidates by the court as a “farce”. “We will continue our fight for free and fair elections,” they said in a statement on Friday.
The international community is supporting the electoral process in Madagascar.
The international envoy appointed by the Southern African Development Community, Joachim Chissano, welcomed the approval of the candidates’ list and the electoral calendar as well as Andry Rajoelina’s statement on Friday.