Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Election Season: Africa - Madagascan Constitutional Referendum

Madagascar votes on Wednesday in a constitutional referendum, almost 2 years since the crisis/coup that plunged the country into chaos, isolation and rapid change. Among other changes, the new constitution lowers the minimum age for presidential candidates to 35 - possibly to allow Rajoelina to stay in power and/or run again, although he has said he isn't planning to. The changes will also require candidates to be resident in the country for 6 months before an election, thereby excluding former leader Ravolamanana, who currently lives in South Africa. Africa hasn't been particularly supportive of Rajoelina's leadership. It'll be interesting to see to what extent they take this vote seriously/trust the outcome.

If the new constitution is approved, it should pave the way for elections in May. Donors have said this is a requirement before they will lift sanctions. The outcome might be tainted, though, as the three main opposition parties have called on supporters to boycott the vote.

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