For a country that marked the interim between the first and second rounds of its presidential election with an outbreak of bubonic plague, it would seem that Madagascar’s new president-elect Hery Rajaonarimampianina has his work cut out for him in a country that’s had too many false starts at both political stability and economic growth.
According to Madagascar’s election commission, Rajaonarimampianina won the country’s December 20 runoff with 53.5% of the vote to 46.5% for runner-up Jean Louis Robinson, though Robinson and his allies have alleged that the vote was riddled with fraud since December 21. Election results had been previously expected on January 7.
Rajaonarimampianina, a former finance minister, was the candidate backed by outgoing president Andry Rajoelina, a former mayor of the capital city of Antananarivo, who came to power in March 2009 in a coup that followed protests over economic conditions. Robinson, a doctor and a former health minister, was backed by Marc Ravalomanana, president from 2002 until his ouster by Rajoelina in 2009. Though Rajoelina promised prompt elections when he took power, repeated delays meant that it took four years to implement a new constitution. Those delays cost Madagascar, an impoverished country of over 22 million, much-needed developmental aid that will hopefully now be freed to pull the troubled Malagasy economy out of its doldrums. The World Bank estimates that the political crisis of the past four years caused an economic hit of around $10 billion — not a small amount considering that the country’s GDP in 2012 was just $9.975 billion. Continue reading Rajaonarimampianina, Rajoelina ally, wins Malagasy presidency