Madagascar Goes to the Polls, Four Years after the Coup

Tomorrow, Madagascar is set to hold elections, four years after a coup plunged the country into political, economical and social turmoil:

Thirty-three candidates are competing tomorrow to replace Rajoelina, who deposed President Marc Ravalomanana almost five years ago, causing the African Union to suspend the country and donors including the U.S. to freeze at least $400 million in aid. That forced the government to scale back services including education, water and health care, deepening poverty in the world’s second-biggest vanilla-producing nation Among the top contenders are former Finance Minister Hery Rajaonarimampianina; Jean Louis Robinson, a medical doctor and former cabinet minister under Ravalomanana; Roland Ratsiraka, a nephew of ex-President Didier Ratsiraka; and ex-Foreign Minister Pierrot Rajaonarivelo.

The mood amongst bloggers is mixed.

Rabelazao sees some hope and relief and is looking forward to voting [mg]: 

Ny latsa-batoko dia kiry manantena ampitso mibaliaka ho an'i Madagasikara.  Ny latsa-batoko dia midika fahavononana hanarina ny rava ary hanohy ny lalantsika.  Ny latsa-batoko dia antso hamerenana ny safidy sy ny zo ho an'ny mpiray tanindrazana amiko.  Ny latsa-batoko dia finoana tsy mihambahamba fa hiray hina sy hihavana ny vahoaka Malagasy.  Ny latsa-batoko dia miandrandra ny hamela lova tsara ho an'ireo taranako. 

My vote is a hope for a happy future for Madagascar. My vote means readiness to build from the ruins and continue our path. My vote is a cry for re-establishing choices and rights for my countrymen. My vote is a non wavering belief in cohesion amongst the people. My vote is a desire to leave my descendants a meaningful legacy.

Others like Jentilisa [mg]worry about the inconsistencies and failures of the poll organizations.

Maro dia maro ny olona tsy tafiditra anaty lisi-pifidianana ary antony maro samihafa no nahatonga izany. Ny mampihomehy dia iray trano izao, ary loham-pianakaviana izao, dia tsy tafiditra anaty lisitra, nefa ilay loham-pianakaviana no nanao sonia ny famenoana ny taratasy fa ny ankohonana tao aminy indray no tafiditra soa aman-tsara. Maro ny tsi-fetezan-javatra ka ny vahoaka indray no nomena tsiny ho tsy mandray andraikitra. Efa fanao eto amin'ity tanindrazana ity ilay fanilihana andraikitra.

Many voters did not make it on the electoral list, due to many reasons. The funny thing is that in the same household, the head of household is not on the electoral list, even though he signed the voter enrollment form, but members of his household are on the list. There are many failures in the voting process, but voters are being blamed for being irresponsible. It is customary in this country to dodge responsibility.

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