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Presidential Election in Doubt
There is no immediate resolution in sight to Madagascar’s political troubles, which may forestall the presidential elections scheduled for 2013; a first round of voting is due to be held on May 8 and a second round on July 3. The tense stand-off between the current unelected president Andry Rajoeline and the man he ousted in a coup in 2009, Marc Ravalomanana, has failed to ease. This is despite two attempts in the Seychelles to broker a face-to-face deal as part of a South African Development Community (SADC) agreement in 2011 to establish a political road-map. Rajoeline is opposed to his rival running in the elections, and the military appears divided over its relative merits given the popular uprisings that accompanied the end of his reign; a recent mutiny at a military base just outside the capital Antananarivo was quickly put down, but underlines the divisions between serving personnel.
A convenient solution, agreeable to Rajoeline and the SADC, would be to run the election without both candidates, but this has been rejected by Ravalomanana, who is currently barred from leaving exile in South Africa. As a result of external pressure (including the possibility of a suspension of aid) the two individuals may still thrash out a compromise, allowing the former president to return in amnesty, perhaps in support of another candidate. Still, given the complications and the role of the military, the threat of political instability will remain high and could lead to renewed violence. It seems unlikely that Ravalomanana will be allowed to return until these issues are resolved.
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