Choices

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.

Election

The cit­i­zen is claimed by both can­di­dates and calls frus­trat­ed “Let me choose or let me drown”

Source: L’Observateur, 16-11-2013

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.