Madagascar: Rajoelina’s election endorsed after hard-fought run-off between long-standing foes

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On 8 January, the High Constitutional Court (HCC) in Madagascar confirmed the victory of former leader Andry Rajoelina in the presidential election run-off of 19 December 2018, claiming 55.66% of the vote versus 44.34% for his challenger. Contesting candidate Marc Ravalomanana, also former president, filed complaints at the HCC on vote-rigging and fraud after which daily protests took place in Antananarivo. Besides the HCC confirmation, the election outcome has also been endorsed by the European Union and the African Union despite observers’ initial reports of irregularities. Eventually these irregularities were said not to have significantly benefitted a certain candidate.  


The two former leaders have been long-term opponents and have dominated politics in Madagascar since Rajoelina ousted Ravalomanana in a 2009 coup. In 2013, democracy was restored and Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president. Incumbent Rajaonarimampianina did not stand a chance during this election following the persistent anti-government demonstrations that erupted in early 2018, leading to fears for another coup. Given the international endorsement of Rajoelina’s victory, the escalation of violent protests became less probable although some small demonstrations are likely to take place. Madagascar hardly ever experienced a smooth political transition. In fact, violent political instability and the absence of a legitimate government have been holding back foreign investors and economic growth for years. Therefore, a newly elected government could kick off things with Rajoelina having already expressed his interest in accelerating hydropower projects to improve electrification across the island, while mining and tourism are identified as two foremost sectors to develop in one of Africa’s poorest countries. For the time being, the outlook for Credendo’s risk classifications remains stable.

Analyst: Louise Van Cauwenbergh –

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