- The Interior Ministry of Madagascar yesterday published the preliminary official results of the last Wednesday’s referendum. It was announced that over 75 percent of the electorate mandated the government to effect constitutional changes, which among others, accelerates the powers of President Marc Ravalomanana.
The changes empower President Ravalomanana to make laws in a state of emergency without passing through the parliament or official procedures, officialise English as the third language of business after French and Malagasy in the country. A success in the referendum also means the government can go ahead with its intentions of abolishing the country’s six provinces.
Before the polls, Malagasy opposition campaigned against the constitutional reforms, fearing they might lead to entrenching dictatorship in the Indian Ocean Island.
However, the government officials countered that the reforms are part of Mr Ravalomanana’s action plan to speed up progress in the country through decentralisation of the administration as well as transfer responsibilities to local offices.
The Malagasy President, a wealthy business tycoon, last December succeeded in his second year bid in office after he had defeated his opponents at the polls. Mr Ravalomanana polled over 54 percent of the valid votes.
The millionaire President came to power in 2002 when he led many months of political strikes, calling for the government of the former President Didier Ratsiraka’s to leave office.
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