Rajoelina secures controversial third term in Madagascar election

Andry Rajoelina's two closest rivals, ousted ex-President Marc Ravalomanana and Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, were defeated in the election, which recorded a historically low voter turnout of 46%.

ANTANANARIVO Madagascar’s incumbent President, Andry Rajoelina, has emerged victorious in a disputed election, securing a third term with 59% of the vote.

The election was marred by controversy, with the opposition and its supporters boycotting the polls.

Rajoelina’s two closest rivals, ousted ex-President Marc Ravalomanana and Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, were defeated in Madagascar 2023 election, which recorded a historically low voter turnout of 46%.

The decision to boycott the election was made by 10 presidential contenders, who withdrew their candidacies due to concerns about the credibility of the electoral process.

They also raised objections to President Rajoelina’s bid for a third term, questioning the validity of his candidacy based on his dual French nationality.

Despite their withdrawal, the candidates’ names remained on the ballot.

Randrianasoloniaiko secured 14% of the vote, while Ravalomanana garnered 12%.

President Rajoelina dismissed the accusations against him as a political tactic, and the constitutional court rejected appeals to annul his candidacy.

Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina (C) casts his ballot at a polling station in Ambatobe, Antananarivo, on November 16, 2023, during the first round of the country's presidential election.
FILE: Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina (C) casts his ballot at a polling station in Ambatobe, Antananarivo, on November 16, 2023, during the first round of the country’s presidential election. [Picture by: Mamyrael, AFP]

The court now has nine days to confirm the election results announced by Madagascar’s electoral body, Ceni.

The opposition collective that boycotted the election has already declared that it will not recognize the results of the November 16 poll.

The lead-up to the election was marked by six weeks of demonstrations and clashes with the police, prompting a curfew in Antananarivo on the eve of the poll.

Andry Rajoelina, a 49-year-old entrepreneur and former DJ, previously won a presidential run-off against Ravalomanana in 2018.

He had ousted Ravalomanana in a 2009 coup backed by the army.

Rajoelina now faces the daunting task of addressing economic challenges, creating jobs, and bringing political stability to a country that has experienced years of political turbulence.

Madagascar has 75% of the population living below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

RosGwen24 News
RosGwen24 News
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