Madagascar – President Polls Set for Wednesday 7 November
This week citizens will vote in presidential elections that will see incumbent President Hery Rajaonarimampianina face 35 presidential aspirants, including former presidents Didier Ratsiraka, Marc Ravolamanana and Andry Rajoelina.
If no candidate receives a majority of votes in the first round then a second round will be held on 19 December.
Despite the fact that Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world its elections are thought to rank among the most expensive. Regulations on pre-campaigning and election financing are very limited, meaning that candidates with resources can benefit from starting their campaigns months in advance. While 75% of Malagasy live on less than $2 a day, President Rajaonarimampianina’s 2013 election campaign is estimated to have spent $21.50 for each vote won.
The country experienced a protracted crisis earlier this year in which attempts by incumbent President Rajaonarimampianina to disqualify potential rivals from contesting the upcoming polls were met with large protests. The heavy-handed response from state security did little to quell unrest and when police shot and fatally wounded two in April tensions escalated further.
Contentious provisions from new electoral legislation were subsequently removed and a new consensus government was appointed at the order of the country’s Constitutional Court in a bid to ease tensions.