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Madagascar Elections Readiness 2023 – DREF Operation (MDRMG021)

The presidential election in Madagascar will be held in 2023. The last elections were relatively calm, however, since independence in 1960, the presidential election process has always been characterised by violence and demonstrations, with several people injured or killed.

Between 1991 and 2018, all elections were marked by minor or major troubles, sometimes leading to electoral disputes, protests and violence against property and people. During the previous election, several alliances were formed within the National Assembly to challenge the electoral code, depending on the interests of each party, particularly their MPs. The 2018 presidential election was the starting point for a new pre-election crisis. Two main political parties, supported by other minor parties, succeeded in mobilising the population in the capital and the country’s major cities for a demonstration. An initial violent confrontation between protesters and police took place on 21 April 2018, leaving 2 people dead and 17 injured. The protest movement continued peacefully after this confrontation when the forces of law and order decided to stop intervening to prevent demonstrations. Political negotiations lasted around two months, at the end of which a political agreement was reached to set up a consensus government made up essentially of 3 major alliances to organise the presidential election; and the President of the Republic was kept in his post.

The country has also experienced periods of political instability. The 2009 crisis was the biggest political crisis to hit the country since its independence in 1960. The crisis resulted in the unconstitutional change of regime of former President after three months of intense popular movement. Supported by the army, the leader of this movement succeeded to head a political transition that lasted 5 years. The 2009 crisis was distinguished from other political crises by the high number of deaths, hundreds of injuries, job losses, its protracted nature, the increase in violence and looting, and the army’s heavy intervention.

Since the last elections, the accumulation and multiplication of natural disasters (cyclones, floods, drought, epidemics, etc.), as well as difficult economic and social conditions, have significantly affected Madagascar. These various crises have weighed heavily on the country’s socio-economic life and are compounded by various governance problems in a number of areas. The current government is facing unprecedented socio-political and economic tensions as it approaches the end of its mandate, on the eve of the 2023 presidential election.

Demonstrations have been taking place since 2 October, with over 10,000 people demonstrating in Antananarivo, Tulear, Majunga, Antsirabe, Mananara nord, Mananjary, Akazomanga, Anjanahary, Ampasapito, Behoririka and Fianarantsoa. The demonstrations, which began peacefully, gradually turned violent after the gatherings began. The official number of people injured and affected is still unknown for the last two weeks of demonstrations, but the Red Cross assisted 11 people and 146 volunteers/employees were mobilized. The data reported here only relates to areas where the Malagasy Red Cross was able to intervene (in total, 5 injured people received first aid from the Malagasy Red Cross when the demonstrations began on 2 October). The total number is probably higher than that reported by the Red Cross because it does not have access to other data from all the demonstration points.

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