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All eyes on island’s recycled leaders

Publish date: 05 November 2018
Issue Number: 798
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Madagascar

Some top-notch political theatre played out in the final campaigns before Madagascar’s presidential elections, even though the substance was mostly pretty vanilla-flavoured and corruption remained the elephant in the room. In a Daily Maverick analysis, Carien Du Plessis notes that Sunday saw the final rallies before campaigning closed ahead of the first round of voting on Wednesday. ‘Only three candidates – all of them recycled Presidents – managed to fill their stadiums in a substantial enough way to indicate that they could be serious contenders: Any Rajoelina, who acquired the presidency by unconstitutional means (the international community damningly called it a coup, but his campaigners don’t like that word) in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana, who was in charge from 2002 but overthrown by Rajoelina, and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who took over from Rajoelina in 2014 and stepped down earlier in 2018 after the country’s Constitutional Court ruled that a transitional government should organise the poll.’ Du Plessis says corruption has featured surprisingly low in all of the big campaigns, even though Madagascar is ranked among the 10 poorest in the world for living standards. ‘Transparency International said it believed the campaigns of the biggest contenders were fuelled by the illegal trade in endangered rosewood. Amnesty International on Saturday added its voice by saying it believed environmental activists had been targeted for speaking out against this trade. The thousands of people mesmerised by promises and rock shows will be hoping for more than just burnt-out fireworks by the end of the elections.’

Full analysis on the Daily Maverick site