In the midst of tensions, Andry Rajoelina launches his reelection campaign in Madagascar

Oct 11, 2023 | 2023 Elections | 0 comments

On Tuesday, Madagascar’s outgoing president, Andry Rajoelina, promised “an orange wave” to thousands of party supporters in Antananarivo for his re-election campaign.

The Indian Ocean island nation will elect a president on November 9, but tensions have been high over its regularity.

Opposition parties have held regular police-dispersed protests against an “institutional coup” to keep Rajoelina in power for over a week.

“Go to your towns, your districts, go throughout Madagascar to create an orange wave,” Rajoelina said from a stage in a pine forest in Akamasoa, wearing orange trousers, sunglasses, and a white shirt.

“No one will take the victory away from us,” he told the crowd of wealthy, SUV-driving Malagasy and poor people living off dump scraps.

The rally kicked off the campaign, but 11 of the 13 candidates announced on Monday that they would only campaign once their issues were resolved.

Rajoelina, 49, resigned last month to run for re-election under the constitution.

A “collegial government” led by Rajoelina’s ally, the prime minister, took over after Senate president Herimanana Razafimahefa declined for “personal reasons”.

The top court accepted the move and rejected appeals to nullify Rajoelina’s candidature due to his dual French nationality, angering the opposition.

After leading almost daily, unauthorised marches in the capital, the 11 opposition candidates have faced heavy police presence and tear gas.

Presidential candidate Andry Raobelina, injured at a rally last week and seeking medical attention in Mauritius, has filed a court appeal to postpone the elections, citing “force majeure”.

On Tuesday, Razafimahefa wrote to the Constitutional Court to reconsider his caretaker role rejection.

“I am determined to assume my responsibilities,” he told journalists, citing Madagascar’s “spectre of a political crisis”.

Rajoelina took power in 2009 after a coup.

He was reelected in 2018 after not running in 2013 due to international pressure.

Despite abundant natural resources, he has led a poor nation.

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