Electoral Law Amendments Prompt Protests In Madagascar & Senegal
On Saturday 21 April security forces and protestors clashed in the Madagascan capital of Antananarivo, resulting in at least one fatality and numerous injuries.
The demonstration, which had been denied official permission to go ahead by the government, was held in response to new electoral laws that would result in the disqualification of potential opposition candidate and former president Marc Ravalomanana in the elections scheduled for later this year. The proposed amendments also include controversial provisions regarding campaign financing and access to media.
Demonstrators reconvened on Monday dressed in white and carrying the coffin of a victim from the weekend’s clashes.
A similar dispute is also raging in Senegal, as government reforms purportedly aimed at simplifying the election process and reducing state costs have been met with vocal opposition both in parliament and on the streets. Critics claims the proposed changes will make it nearly impossible for minor candidates to run in the upcoming 2019 elections. Last week protesters were met with teargas, with several arrests made prompting Amnesty International to call on the Senegalese government to respect human rights, including the right to peaceful protect and the right to freedom of expression.