See also:
» 16.02.2011 - New movement in Madagascar stand-still
» 17.11.2010 - Madagascar coup failing
» 17.11.2010 - Coup attempt ongoing in Madagascar
» 16.11.2010 - Madagascar referendum deemed illegal
» 04.06.2010 - EU to keep freezing Madagascar aid
» 19.04.2010 - Coup attempt in Madagascar...?
» 15.04.2010 - Madagascar rivals resume dialogue
» 14.04.2010 - Military threat sparks Madagascar dialogue

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18 register for Madagascar presidentials

Pierrot Rajaonarivelo:
«My only weapon is my faith in freedom.»

© Rajaonarivelo / afrol News
afrol News, 16 October
- So far, 18 candidates have put up their registration to contest for Madagascar's presidential polls scheduled to take place on 3 December this year. But officials say the country's High Constitutional Court will approve the final list on Thursday and one of the main opposition candidates risks being disapproved.

According to political pundits, President Marc Ravalomanana is waiting to sweep the polls. His main challenger is the exiled opposition leader; Pierrot Rajaonarivelo, whose efforts to return home to register his candidature was averted by police on Saturday who closed the airport, used tear gas and arrested members of his AREMA party for launching a protest.

However, his lawyers applied on his behalf today. Mr Rajaonarivelo served as a Vice Prime Minister under former President Didier Ratsirika, also of the AREMA party. But he flew to Paris along with other cabinet members after a political stand-off that brought the businessman turned politician to power in 2002. Believing that the elections were rigged, Mr Ravalomanana declared himself president, amid violent protest in the island.

Mr Rajaonarivelo, who was convicted of misuse of funds in absentia, has been threatened with arrest as soon as he returned home by state officials. He was sentenced to 15 years with hard labour and also banned from holding public office.

The famous opposition leader had earlier sent a public message that he was coming home but asked President Ravalomanana not to panic.

"I am returning to the country tomorrow, Saturday 14 October, but do not be afraid because my only weapon is my faith in freedom," he said, asking President Ravolomanana to be responsible because posterity would judge him by his actions.

"Our people want democracy and our long walk to freedom should be peaceful and if you stop me, it means you are stopping the freedom of the Malagasy people. The only solution that remains for you to do is to accept the democratic process," his public letter said.

A court in the capital Antananarivo today imposed a four year jail term on yet another opposition politician, Jean Eugene Voninahitsy, for his role in a July jail break.

Madagascar, which is described as the world's number one grower of vanilla, has experienced a lot of political unrest in the past. Its education system is also seen as one of the best in Africa but most of its citizens are heading to the West in search of greener pastures, mainly because of poverty.

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