In Madagascar, international aid comforts a contested president

On Saturday December 16, Andry Rajoelina was officially inaugurated for a second five-year term as head of Madagascar

In Madagascar, international aid comforts a contested president

On Saturday December 16, Andry Rajoelina was officially inaugurated for a second five-year term as head of Madagascar. The ceremony, organized with pomp in the large Mahamasina stadium, in Antananarivo, completes a contested electoral process, in which the one who can, more than ever, be described as the "strong man" of the large island in the Indian Ocean, is emerged victorious in the first round, with 58.9% of the vote and a turnout of 46%.

Faced with the blatant exploitation of the institutions responsible for guaranteeing the credibility of the vote, the flaws in the voters' list and the scandal caused by the revelation of the acquisition, in 2014, of French nationality by Mr. Rajoelina, calls for postponement of the ballot and the opening of a national dialogue launched by the main actors of Malagasy society, first and foremost the Christian Churches, remained in vain. After denouncing "an institutional coup d'état", the united opposition finally boycotted the election and does not recognize the results, which leaves unanswered questions about the president's ability to govern.

On Saturday, the inauguration ceremony took place under the close control of the police, the same ones who, throughout the electoral campaign, had dispersed the almost daily demonstrations whose slogan was the “return to the rule of law.”

Diplomatic reserve

Apart from a few neighboring African heads of state, Western diplomats did not rush to attend the coronation. Only France sent the Secretary of State for the Sea, Hervé Berville. This discretion could be interpreted as a form of reservation with regard to the force used by the outgoing president to ensure his re-election.

On December 1, France, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, the United States, Switzerland, South Korea and the International Organization of the Francophonie, in a joint statement , soberly taken “note of the publication by the High Constitutional Court of the final results of the presidential election of November 16 proclaiming Andry Rajoelina as the winner.” A clever formula intended not to express a discharge, while protecting itself against possible accusations of interference.

But is it possible to claim the status of a neutral, if not powerless, observer in the face of the authoritarian drift of the regime when public development assistance ensures nearly 70% of state investments (68% in the adopted budget , early December, for 2024)? This perfusion reaches, or even exceeds, 85% for agriculture, health, energy and the environment. It represents 70% of investments made in education, public works, etc.