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Madagascar:opposition denounces “an institutional coup d’état”

Madagascar:opposition denounces “an institutional coup d’état”
Andry Rajoelina, President of Madagascar, arrives at the closing session of the ...   -  
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Lewis Joly/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.


The Malagasy opposition has denounced "an institutional coup d'état" orchestrated by President Rajoelina, after a series of court decisions which, according to it, favor the head of state candidate for re-election in less than two months.

In a letter received Tuesday by the electoral commission and consulted by AFP, ten candidates in the presidential election accuse the head of state of manipulating institutions to favor his election to a second term at the head of the Great Ocean Island Indian.

Malagasy people go to the polls for the first round of voting on November 9. The second is scheduled for December 20. Thirteen candidates are in the running, including Andry Rajoelina , 49, who came to power in 2009 thanks to a coup d'état .

"The power (...) carried out a real institutional coup d'état with the aim of putting the Prime Minister in control of the State during the presidential electoral period in order to manipulate the results for the benefit of their candidate" , denounce the ten signatories of the letter.

In recent days, a series of decisions from the Constitutional Court , the country's highest court, have, according to the opposition, deliberately cleared the outgoing president's horizon for the vote.

On Saturday, Mr. Rajoelina ceased to exercise power, as provided for by the Constitution during the electoral period. The President of the Senate, who was to act in the interim, however cited "personal reasons" and left the reins to a "collegial government" led by the Prime Minister, Christian Ntsay , close to the head of state.

This game of musical chairs was validated on Saturday by the Constitutional Court.

The same day, the Court rejected three appeals demanding that Mr. Rajoelina's candidacy be declared invalid "for lack of Malagasy nationality" . The decision published late in the evening deemed the requests, filed in September by three opposition parties, "inadmissible" .

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

Opponent and MP Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa denounced to the AFP the "irregularities committed by the institutions" , saying he wanted to challenge "intellectuals, observers and above all existing institutions and the international community" with the letter .

Eléonore Johasy, who represents the candidate Auguste Paraina , denounced "decisions taken at odd hours, so that no chance is given for anyone to oppose them."__"It is true that the trust is crumbling and all the shenanigans and maneuvers do not promote trust in the different authorities ,” she explained to AFP.

The Malagasy Constitution provides that the current president, candidate for his own succession, resigns from his post 60 days before the date of the election and that the President of the Senate takes over in the interim. But no provision is made in the event of the latter's refusal.

“The President of the Senate has renounced this office. We cannot force him to take the reins of power ,” justified the President of the Constitutional Court, Florent Rakotoarisoa , interviewed by AFP.

“We only applied the reserve measure provided for by the Constitution ,” he continued, adding that justice worked to “ensure the continuity of the State . ” According to the Constitution, a collegial government ensures the interim in the case where the president of the Senate is himself a presidential candidate.

This series of decisions was "dictated by those in power" , believe Mr. Rajoelina's ten rivals in the vote, accusing the members of the Constitutional Court of "being complicit in these maneuvers" and of having "validated this coup of institutional state" .

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