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Presidential election in Madagascar: Rajoelina in the race, the controversy ruled out

Presidential election in Madagascar: Rajoelina in the race, the controversy ruled out
Stock photo from 19 December 2018: Andry Rajoelina casts his ballot during the ...   -  
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Themba Hadebe/Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


The Malagasy electoral commission took note on Monday of the candidacy for the next presidential election of the outgoing head of state, Andry Rajoelina, hampered in recent months by a controversy surrounding his nationality finally swept aside by the courts, noted a journalist from the 'AFP.

In a packed room at the organization's headquarters in the capital Antananarivo, the president of the commission drew a number for each of the 13 official candidates: on the Big Island in the Indian Ocean, voters vote with a ballot unique and the order of display of candidates is an issue, or for some, a sign.

“Having drawn the number three is not a coincidence, it is the Trinity (...) It is the three winner, the father, the son and the Holy Spirit,” Rajoelina immediately interpreted, questioned by the 'AFP.

The Malagasy people will go to the polls on November 9 for the first round. The second is scheduled for December 20. Rajoelina launched her campaign last week, during a ceremony combining a concert, giant screens and flags bearing her image. Several thousand supporters attended the spectacle.

On Saturday, the Constitutional Court removed an obstacle by rejecting three appeals, which demanded that Andry Rajoelina's candidacy be declared invalid "for lack of Malagasy nationality".

At the end of June, information leaked to the press revealed that the president was naturalized French on the sly in 2014, triggering controversy in the country. According to the Malagasy nationality code, he is then supposed to lose his Malagasy nationality. And without this nationality, he can neither lead the country nor be a candidate for an election.

But the courts, in a decision published late on Saturday, ruled "inadmissible" the appeals to this effect filed in September by three opposition parties. And Andry Rajoelina ceased to exercise power over the weekend, as provided for by the Constitution during campaign times.

The President of the Senate, who was to act as interim, however cited "personal reasons" and left the reins to a "collegial government" led by the Prime Minister, Christian Ntsay, close to Rajoelina.

According to opponent and candidate Siteny Randrianasoloniaiko, who said he was "worried about democracy in Madagascar", the President of the Senate "had pressure". “We cannot have confidence in the neutrality of this collegial government,” added a representative of another opposition party, Alain Désiré Rasambany.

Madagascar is one of the poorest countries on the planet and almost 80% of the population lives on less than 1.80 euros per day.

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