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The presidential elections in Madagascar have been postponed several times but were finally held on October 25, 2013. These are the first elections since the 2009 coup led by Andry Rajoelina against the former president Marc Ravalomanana.

This coup was widely blamed by the international community with resulting sanctions against the country, and international aid drying up. As a result, Madagascar has become one of the poorest countries in the world.

 

There were 33 candidates vying for the presidency. To note is that both the current president Andry Rajoelina who led the coup in 2009 and the former president Marc Ravalomanana have been barred from contesting in this election due to pressure from the international community.[1] The African Union, the South African Development Community (SADC), France and the European Union are said to have played a role in blocking the two men from contesting, as well Ravalomanana’s wife, Lalao.[2]

The second round of the elections will take place on December 20th, along with the legislative elections.

According to the Ms Atalla Beatrice, president of the Independent National Commission (CENIT) of Madagscar 7,825,305 were registered to vote with 20,001 polling stations in 119 districts across the country.[3]

 

Women’s  Political Participation

 

Historically and currently, Malagasy women have a disadvantaged position in the society, with discrimination, subordination and violence in different forms.[4] In 2011 a roadmap was created by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to attempt to break a political stalemate that occurred after the power takeover by Rajoelina in 2009. This roadmap led to the creation of a National Reconciliation Commission which has taken the essence of the UNSCR 1325 into consideration and has focused on the importance of women’s participation in the reconciliation and development process.[5]

 

The last national assembly elections in Madagascar took place in October 2010, with 64 of the 365 members of the lower house being won by women and 20 of the 164 upper house seats being won by women.[6]  The cabinet has 32 members of which only 5 are women.[7]

According to the Mo Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Madagascar has registered the biggest overall deterioration in overall governance over the past 12 years.[8]

 

Conclusion:

These elections have been considered to be an indication of the future political climate in Madagascar. If there is no outright winner, the second round will take place on 20th December, 2013 along with the legislative elections. Hopefully these will ensure increased women’s participation.

 



[4] Institute for Security Studies, “Madagascar peace and reconciliation from below - women as actors in the transition process”, http://www.issafrica.org/topics/peacekeeping-and-conflict-management/madagascar-peace-and-reconciliation-from-below-women-as-actors-in-the-transition-process

[5] Institute for Security Studies, “Madagascar peace and reconciliation from below - women as actors in the transition process”, http://www.issafrica.org/topics/peacekeeping-and-conflict-management/madagascar-peace-and-reconciliation-from-below-women-as-actors-in-the-transition-process

[6] Inter-Parliamentary Union, “Women in  national Parliaments”, http://www.ipu.org/wnm-e/classif.htm

[7] IPS, “MADAGASCAR: Women Form Own Political Parties for Fair Representation”, http://www.ipsnews.net/2010/07/madagascar-women-form-own-political-parties-for-fair-representation/

 

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