Democracy and rights
Madagascar is formally a parliamentary
democracy with multi-party systems, but real democracy
has had a hard time gaining ground in the country.
Corruption is widespread and the judiciary suffers from
a lack of resources, among other things, there is a
shortage of trained lawyers.
Almost all the shifts in power have been more or less
coup d’etat. Each president has tried to strengthen his
own position by changing the constitution. Freedom House
describes Madagascar as a "partly free" country.
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Madagascar, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Political parties can be formed freely and there are
many parties in the country. Violent clashes between
different political camps were common in the 2000s and
2010s (see Modern History).
Corruption occurs to a large extent and the political
authorities exert some influence over, for example, the
courts. Corruption in society has increased in recent
years according to Transparency International, which in
2019 ranked Madagascar as 158th country out of 180 in
terms of corruption in the world (see the full list
here). This was a deterioration with six investments
compared to the previous year.
Freedom of expression and media
The constitution guarantees freedom of press and
expression. The media has usually been able to work
freely and the press has often been critical of the
authorities. But during the 2000s and 2010s, the state's
intervention against the media has increased, among
other things several radio stations have been shut down
by the authorities.
According to Reporters Without Borders, media freedom
was significantly restricted after political riots broke
out in 2009. The media was in many cases turned into
propaganda instruments for various political camps, and
journalists were forced into self-censorship so as not
In recent years, journalists have been abused by
supporters of rival political camps. As in many other
countries, political activists have increasingly begun
to use the Internet as a discussion forum. However,
Internet users in Madagascar are few.
When Hery Rajaonarimampianina was elected president
in 2014, hopes were raised that media freedom would be
strengthened. By 2020, Madagascar was ranked 54th in
Reporters Without Borders Index on Press Freedom in 180
Countries (see full list here). This means that freedom
of the press has gradually strengthened somewhat since
the change of power.
Judicial system and legal security
The courts' work is hampered by a lack of financial
resources and difficulties in recruiting trained staff.
Judges have long demanded a reform of the judiciary.
Conditions for interns in the country's prisons are
said to be difficult, among other things, malnutrition
is common. The death penalty was abolished in 2014.
In addition to the formal judicial system, there are
village courts which, without the support of the law,
impose penalties for persons who have violated the
village rules. There is information that village courts
must have sentenced and executed the death penalty.
The police also suffer from a lack of resources. Many
police officers are poorly educated and the corruption
in the corps is widespread.
Rajaonarimampianina wins second round
Concerns about unrest are not being met and the presidential election will
end in calm conditions on December 20, when parliamentary elections are being
held at the same time. International observer groups say that the election was,
on the whole, well-organized. Both presidential candidates claim to have won by
a large margin, even when only one percent of the votes have been counted, and
they accuse each other of gross cheating. When most of the votes have been
counted just before the turn of the year, the Rajaonarimampianina has a
seemingly inaccessible lead of over 53 percent. Opponent Robinson appealed the
result before it was even published, demanding that the election be annulled.
Military intervention is feared
Rajoelina dismisses the civilian leaders for eight of the country's 22
regions and replaces them with high-ranking military. The opposition and several
media fears that Rajoelina is preparing for military intervention before the
decisive round of the December presidential election.
Plans for a second round of elections
After two weeks, it is clear that there will be a second and decisive
election round on December 20 between Jean-Louis Robinson, openly supported by
Ravalomanana, and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, supported by Rajoelina. They receive
21.2 and 15.9 percent of the votes, respectively. Diplomats see the election
campaign as a continuing battle through agents between the two rivals
Ravalomanana and Rajoelina and warn of continued risk that the military may
interfere in the process. European observers say that the election so far has
been reasonably well done, but that there were shortcomings in voting lengths
and that there was a lack of transparency in campaign funding.
The presidential election is conducted
On October 25, presidential elections will be held in relatively organized
forms. Some violence is reported with, among other things, a murder, a
kidnapping and a polling booth that burns down. About 7.8 million eligible
voters have 33 candidates to choose from. Observers from the SADC and the EU say
that the election was generally conducted in a free and credible manner, even
though there were organizational shortcomings, including gaps in voting lengths.
Riot after suspected murder
At least 26 people are arrested and curfews are being imposed on the tourist
island of Nosy Bé after a crowd of two European tourists and one man from the
area killed their bodies on a beach. The men were suspected of having murdered
and mutilated a little boy.
Rajoelina is not a candidate
Rajoelina announces that he is withdrawing his candidacy in the presidential
election "so that the political crisis can be resolved".
The AU revokes sanctions
The AU repeals the sanctions against Rajoelina and 108 other people in his
circle in recognition of Madagascar being "on the right track" since the
presidential election was announced. The country remains suspended from the AU
for the time being but is promised re-entry as soon as a new, legally elected
president has been installed.
Presidential candidates are rejected
A special electoral court rejects the three controversial electoral
candidates. Rajoelina must have filed her application too late and the other two
did not meet the requirement to have lived in Madagascar continuously for the
past six months. The message is welcomed by the AU. A new election date is set
for October 25. Any other round of elections, if no one gets 50 percent of the
vote, will take place on December 20 when parliamentary elections are also held.
Sanctions against the presidential candidates
The international mediator in the political conflict in Madagascar,
Mozambique's former President Joaquim Chissano, says that if the three
controversial presidential candidates do not withdraw, the UN Security Council
will be called upon to issue sanctions against them. In this case, they are
allowed a travel ban and their bank accounts are blocked, as are the accounts of
family members, employees and business partners.
The choice is postponed
The government decides to postpone the presidential election until August 23.
The UN calls for a new start
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon also calls on the three controversial
presidential candidates to withdraw. Rajoelina refuses to step down and instead
suggests that the election may be canceled. He blames the fact that the aid
countries have withdrawn their financial support for the electoral events.
Rajoelina will not be recognized
The AU Peace and Security Council says it will not recognize Rajoelina as
president if he wins the election. After that, France and the EU announce that
they will withdraw their financial support for the presidential election.
Ex-Presidents intend to run for office
Despite a previous promise to withdraw, Rajoelina announces that he is
running for presidential election, which has now been postponed until July. 41
candidates have been approved, in addition to Rajoelina also Ratsiraka and Lalao
Ravalomanana, wife of Marc Ravalomanana. Both SADC and South Africa's and
Tanzania's presidents personally appeal to all three to withdraw their
candidacies to give the country a chance to restart.
The president returns
Former President Ratsiraka returns after eleven years in exile. He is to
attend a national reconciliation conference but does not want to say whether he
will be running for the summer elections. His successor Ravalomanana is still
prevented from returning. He has lived in exile since he was deposed in the 2009
Chance to be recognized government
Rajoelina announces that he will not run in the May 8 presidential election.
Nor does Ravalomanana intend to be a candidate. Thus, there is the possibility
that the election could bring about a fresh start for the country and give it an
internationally recognized government.