We are almost entering our last month in Madagascar. Uncharacteristically, Freddy looks forward to leaving. It is tough, doing interviews in the rain: transport is difficult, and the farmers are always at work in the rice fields. And Freddy is now on antibiotics for inflamed little wounds on his feet. But of course there is still plenty to enjoy. I am alright here, as long as there is internet and I have something to do. I’m now working on a web design job.
After sharing this personal information (the weak point of this blog), the rest of this post is all about politics. In general we don’t follow any news here, so I have resorted to the Internet to read through some news about the elections of last month.
The parliamentary elections were held together with the presidential election. The last time these were held was in 2006 and 2007; before the coup d’etat in 2009, when Rajoelina forced Marc Ravalomanana to resign. After that, Madagascar was suspended by the regional bodies (AU and SADC) and lost almost all external budget support, for example from the USA. This caused a heavy economic crisis, which by now lasts for 5 years.
The election saw a very low turnout; a bit more than half of the registered voters. It is clear that people do not trust the politicians. For the presidential election it was the second round, contested between two persons: Jean Louis Robinson, backed by Marc Ravalomanana; and Hery Rajaonarimampianina (indicated with ‘Hery’), backed by current president Rajoelina. For the last four years, Hery was finance minister under Rajoelina. He narrowly won the elections with 53.5% and was inaugurated as president last weekend. It is likely that Rajoelina will become premier, depending on the number of parliamentary seats his party will get. This reminds us of the series Putin – Medvedev – Putin in Russia.
Robinson has not accepted his defeat, claims rigged votes and demands a recount. He was however present at the inauguration ceremony. The course of this electoral dispute will determine whether these elections have created a positive change. The international observers have approved the election. If this can be finalized peacefully, it is likely that Madagascar may join the regional bodies again. Recognition abroad means budget support, which the government desperately needs to get the economy back on track.