Madagascar president Rajoelina announces bid for re-election

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Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina has announced he will run for re-election in November.

Rajoelina made the announcement at a grand ceremony held in the biggest stadium on the large Indian Ocean island, which is due to hold the presidential vote on 9th November.

He first took power in 2009 on the back of a coup that ousted former president Marc Ravalomanana.

After not contesting in the 2013 election due to international pressure, Rajoelina was voted back into power in 2018.

“Are you ready? I am decided” the 49-year-old leader declared in the country’s capital Antananarivo.

Sporting a white suit, he said he was ready to represent people “throughout Madagascar, and to be the president of all Malagasy people,”.

“The Constitution allows me to run for a second term” he said on a stage decorated with flags bearing his image and with giant screens which hosted evangelical music groups and popular Malagasy singers, before his speech.

Addressing thousands of supporters, clad in the party colours of orange and white, at the Barea stadium where a dozen people died in a stampede at the end of August, Rajoelina highlighted the infrastructure built over the last five years.

Proclaiming himself to be a “builder president,” he listed schools, courts and even prisons that had been built during his presidency.

“Many things have been done to prevent me from moving forward but this encourages me to do more” Rajoelina said, promising victory.

The head of state has in recent months been facing questions over his dual French nationality.

The information was disclosed through media reports at the end of June.

Naturalised in France in 2014, under local law the president would lose his Madagascan nationality.

Without his Malagasy nationality, he can neither lead the country nor run for office.

But this version of the facts is vigorously disputed by the ruling party.

Nicknamed “TGV”, in reference to the name of his party Tanora malaGasy Vonona (Young Malagasies Determined), the businessman and fervent Catholic arrived on the political scene in 2007.

That year he trounced the party of then president Ravalomanana to become the capital city Antananarivo’s mayor.

He seized power from Ravalomanana in 2009, with the implicit support of the army.

The international community condemned the coup d’├ętat.

Ravalomanana, a 73-year-old millionaire who made his fortune in the agri-food industry, has still not come to terms with his ouster and in July announced his candidacy for the upcoming presidential election.

Madagascar which is often hit by devastating storms is one of the poorest countries on the globe despite its vast natural resources.

Some 80 percent of the population of 28 million lives on less than 1.92 dollars per day.

Africanews/Hauwa M.