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Malagasy Opposition Accuses President of "Institutional Coup d'Etat"

Published September 21, 2023
9 months ago

A section of the Malagasy opposition has raised accusations of an "institutional coup d'etat" against President Rajoelina. Ten candidates in the forthcoming presidential election have charged the head of state with manipulating institutions to pave the way for his re-election in the upcoming polls slated for November and December.

A letter addressed to the electoral commission and inspected by AFP details the alleged plot of President Rajoelina to control state power for electioneering purposes during the presidential electoral season.

The opposition's accusation was catalyzed by a series of rulings from the Constitutional Court, Madagascar's apex court, deemed to favor the incumbent. The President, in accordance with the country's constitution, stepped down from power in the electoral period. However, the Senate President, who was expected to act in the interim, cited "personal reasons" and passed the baton to a "collegial government" led by the Prime Minister and presidential ally, Christian Ntsay—a move affirmed by the Constitutional Court.

The opposition also raises eyebrows at the Court's dismissal of three appeals questioning Mr. Rajoelina's candidacy due to allegations of him lacking Malagasy nationality. Reports leaked to the press in June indicted the president of acquiring French nationality in 2014, causing a countrywide stir, as the Malagasy nationality code would require him to forego his Malagasy nationality, making him ineligible for presidency or electoral candidacy.

Opponent and MP Jean-Brunelle Razafintsiandraofa, alongside Eléonore Johasy, representing the candidate Auguste Paraina, have condemned the "institutional irregularities" and call upon the international community to take notice. The recent rulings, conducted at unusual hours, prevent any viable opposition, they argued, further marring trust in governmental bodies.

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