Opposition Candidates in Madagascar Stage Protests Denouncing ‘Institutional Coup’

Harare — In the face of intense political tensions and disagreements over the validity of the vote, the opposition in Madagascar vowed to continue protesting in the face of a ruling by a higher court to postpone the presidential elections by one week, AFP reports.

Opposition parties have staged protests for over a week against what they describe as a “institutional coup” intended to retain outgoing president Andry Rajoelina in office. In the capital, Antananarivo, eleven out of thirteen opposition candidates have spearheaded nearly daily unapproved marches that have drawn a significant police presence.

Initially, November 9, 2023, was scheduled as the date for voters to cast ballots. However, the nation’s highest court declared on Thursday, October 12, that the presidential elections would be delayed by one week; a government decree on Friday confirmed this decision. The election has been planned for several weeks in an increasingly deplorable environment, with Rajoelina standing as a candidate. It was the most recent development in the political crisis that has engulfed the nation since Rajoelina resigned last month in accordance with the constitution so that he could seek re-election.

The decision was made in response to Raobelina’s injuries sustained during one of the protests that police have frequently broken up.

In 2009, Rajoelina, now 49, came to power following the overthrow of Marc Ravalomanana through a coup. He was elected back into office in 2018 after withdrawing from the race in 2013 as a result of pressure from throughout the world. In September 2023, ten opposition candidates criticized the administration for staging a “institutional coup”. The opposition were enraged when the Constitutional Court denied pleas to declare Rajoelina’s candidacy invalid due to his dual French nationality. According to press sources from earlier this year, he became a naturalized French citizen in 2014.

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