Friday, December 20, 2013

Voters unsure Madagascar election will end crisis

Voters in Madagascar are returning to the polls Friday to elect a new president and parliament. Hopes are high that the new leadership will end a five-year political and economic crisis in the Indian Ocean island nation, where a former mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, ousted a democratically elected president in 2009.

The election runoff is being held after the first round on October 25 failed to produce an outright winner.  Richard Jean-Louis Robinson of the Avana party, a former health minister in the government of ousted president Marc Ravalomanana, won about 30 percent of the vote in the first round. His rival, Hery Martial Rokotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina, former finance minister in the transitional government headed by incumbent Andry Rajoelina, won about 15 percent.

Both candidates have promised to work on national reconciliation if elected, but after years of unrest following the 2009 coup, many in Madagascar are doubtful.The leaders say they want national reconciliation, but they can't even agree on just one debate," said Dizo Henri, a Antananarivo resident.
In 2009, the young mayor of Antananarivo, former disk jockey Andry Rajoelina, ousted the legally elected government of President Marc Ravalomanana with the backing of the army. Violence and political wrangling has left the country without a constitutional government since.

The duration of this crisis has been too long. It's enough. By now we should have an elected president," said Roland Razafi, who is planning to vote at the upcoming poll.After the coup, Madagascar came under international sanctions which caused the nation to lose foreign aid. Its tourism industry suffered as well.Both presidential candidates say they will focus on rebuilding the economy, but political analyst Gilbert Raharizatovo think both lack the necessary experience.

What Madagascar is looking for now is a man who's able to organize [things], who has a vision, so that's called a statesman. In Madagascar, it doesn't really exist. Why? Simply because, in my opinion, a statesman is a man who's been trained for long years to recognize what are the ethics of governance, the deontology of governance or the deontology of politics," said Raharizatovo.Perhaps more importantly, the two candidates are seen as proxies for longtime rivals Rajoelina and Ravalomanana, both of whom are barred from running. For some voters, that means no end to the political impasse.

This election is not a way out of the crisis, but the Madagascan people have no choice other than to choose between the two candidates," said one voter.The run-off is taking place on the same day as parliamentary elections. The newly elected lawmakers will then nominate Madagascar's prime minister.

Source: Voice of  America

Présidentielle malgache: affluence au rendez-vous pour l’ouverture des bureaux de vote

Journée cruciale, ce vendredi 20 décembre 2013 à Madagascar, où les électeurs sont appelés aux urnes pour le deuxième tour de l’élection présidentielle. Ce deuxième tour oppose Robinson Jean-Louis à Hery Rajaonarimampianina. Le premier est soutenu par l’ancien président Marc Ravalomanana et le second par le président de transition Andry Rajoelina. A Antananarivo, les bureaux de vote ont ouvert à 6 heures, heure locale. Et l’affluence semble plus importante qu’au premier tour.

Dans les bureaux de vote visités, il y avait un peu plus d’affluence qu’au premier tour. Ce sont des électeurs motivés, désireux de pouvoir s’exprimer après cinq ans de crise et qui espèrent que le pays sortira de l’ornière grâce à cette élection.Dans certains quartiers, il y a de longues files d’attente. Il faut dire que dans chaque bureau, les électeurs votent deux fois, pour les législatives et la présidentielle. Avec une trentaine de candidats dans certaines circonscriptions pour les législatives, les électeurs mettent plus de temps dans l’isoloir pour trouver le candidat de leur choix. Mais, de manière générale, les gens patientent et tout se passe dans le calme jusqu’à maintenant.

Incidents au premier tour

Car il y avait bien eu des incidents au premier tour, de nombreuses réclamations notamment, concernant essentiellement la liste électorale : 10 % du corps électoral n’était pas inscrit, selon la Cénit. Cela correspond à environ 800 000 personnes.Et la Commission électorale indépendante a essayé de corriger les défauts pour ce deuxième jour de vote : une liste complémentaire a été établie selon certains critères.
Seulement elle ne comporte que 140 000 noms. Il reste encore des électeurs qui sont venus ce matin en espérant voter et qui sont repartis bredouilles.La Cénit a aussi fait des efforts pour faciliter la fluidité dans les grands bureaux de vote. Le personnel qui accueille les électeurs et vérifie les noms sur la liste a été renforcé.

Source: RFI

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Madagascar preparing for Presidential run-off election

Madagascar holds a second round of voting on Friday to complete its first presidential election since a 2009 coup that scared off foreign donors and investors.The two contestants in the run-off vote are not political heavyweights, but are allies of the island's two main rivals: the coup leader-turned-president, Andry Rajoelina, and the man he ousted with the army's help, Marc Ravalomanana. Ravalomanana and Rajoelina had agreed not to run in the election in a regionally-brokered deal to defuse tensions. A last minute attempt by Rajoelina to run when Ravalomanana's wife stepped into the race led to a court order blocking both.

Jean Louis Robinson

The former health minister is backed by Ravalomanana, who has been exiled in South Africa since dissident troops swung behind anti-government protests that led to his 2009 overthrow.The former leader turned to Robinson only after his wife Lalao was barred from running for president. Robinson, 61, emerged the frontrunner in October's first round with 21 percent of the vote and the clear winner in the capital, Antananarivo, where there is widespread frustration at the economic malaise gripping the nickel-producing island.

Robinson, a physician with a black belt in judo, says the political fight won't be over until Ravalomanana returns to the island that lies off southern Africa. He has declared Lalao Ravalomanana will be his prime minister if he wins the vote. She has been glued to his side during campaigning. An adviser to Ravalomanana's first prime minister in 2002, Robinson was health minister in 2004-08 and minister of sports and culture in 2008-09.

He promises an improved version of Ravalomanana's Madagascar Action Plan to promote development in one of Africa's poorest countries by increasing investment, collecting more taxes and launching an agricultural revolution. That plan briefly boosted economic growth to about 7 percent a year before the coup.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina

A finance minister under Rajoelina, 55-year-old Rajaonarimampianina has pitched himself as the best-placed person to marshal a recovery of Madagascar's crippled economy.Donors turned off budgetary aid taps and foreign investors fled after Rajoelina's coup, depriving the government of cash and stunting growth. Even so, policymakers have been praised for keeping spending in check, prices stable and inflation at bay.

Educated in Canada, Rajaonarimampianina's campaign has focused on restoring security, building new roads and improving access to education.He served as finance minister from 2009 to 2013, stepping down to run for president. He is backed by Rajoelina, so likely has the support of the military commanders who backed the former disk jockey's power grab five years ago. He won 16 percent of the vote in the first round and will need to win some of the major coastal cities to offset Robinson's advantage in the capital, analysts say.

Source: Voice of America

Madagascar leader joins campaign

Madagascar’s outgoing President Andry Rajoelina has been aggressive over the recent days while campaigning for his candidate for the runoff election set for December 20.The only time he was unable to attend political rallies since November 29 was when he had to fly to South Africa last Saturday to pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.

The leader had disturbing takes less than one week before nearly 7,900,000 voters are expected to elect a new president and deputies next Friday.He used assertive arguments to defend his position while invited at a private-owned TV on Sunday night.The Malagasy nation has its law regarding the presence of any heads of institution at any political meetings. Only they are banned from addressing the crowd,” he claimed.

He added: “There were moments where I really wanted to speak, to take the floor, address the people, and express my opinion. People wanted to hear my voice. But I was obliged to keep silent because of the law,” he stated.The man still believes his popularity has remained intact after a 5-year reign marked by a collapsed economy.Most of the time, people massively gathered in various districts. Once they learnt that I could not address the assistance, they were sad and left the meeting places,” he added.

According to him, his team could easily have won the October 25’s vote if his allies were sufficiently united.Many of our partisans got embarrassed with the numerous candidates of our camp.Many did not vote because they did not know who was the authentic candidate; reason why I had to take a stand to defend the fight for the second round.In effect, the leader of the 2009 popular movement ousting the-then leader Marc Ravalomanana has supported the second top candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina who was beaten by Dr Robinson Jean Louis backed by deposed president, still exiled in South Africa.

Both two have competed to campaign for their respective proxies in different ways, a situation that has obviously angered Antananarivo.I did a lot when I accepted the rejection of my candidacy to preserve peace in the country,” President Rajoelina reminded.My predecessor, for his part, struggled to campaign for his ally who collected 21 per cent of the votes at the first round.” “As for me, I refrained from appearing during the first round.

But our candidate still got around 16 per cent of the votes.” “I could visit almost all of the districts and I know what people need. What I want to say is time is now for Andry Rajoelina to demonstrate his real force,” the outgoing leader raged.He stressed his clan has always remained powerful even in the capital Antananarivo where people massively voted for the candidate Robinson on October 25.

Source: Daily Nation

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Elections malgaches: fin de la campagne de sensibilisation électorale

A Madagascar, derniers jours de campagne avant les élections ce vendredi 20 décembre. Près de huit millions d’électeurs seront appelés à voter pour le second tour de la présidentielle et pour les législatives. Des élections de sortie de crise après cinq ans de difficultés politiques, économiques et sociales. Tandis que les candidats font leurs derniers meetings, c’est la course contre la montre pour les organisations de la société civile chargées de l’éducation et la sensibilisation électorale.

Dans une fourgonnette à la tôle rouillée, les deux éducateurs parcourent les pistes boueuses du district de Manjakandriana à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de la capitale.Il est huit heures du matin, première étape au marché d’Antsahalalina. Un petit groupe s’approche de la banderole. Et la séance commence par un concours de pliage du bulletin unique.Tout le monde n’est pas au point : « Côté technique au premier tour il y a des électeurs qui ne savaient pas plier le bulletin. Ils étaient pressés de voter, ils l’ont plié, mais sans l’avoir coché », explique Heritiana Alain, membre d’un bureau de vote au premier tour.

La séance se poursuit avec une simulation de vote avec des spécimens des deux bulletins. Deux bulletins de tailles différentes pour les deux élections, deux urnes, deux listes d’émargement. « Il est nécessaire de faire cette campagne de sensibilisation, car c’est la première fois à Madagascar qu’on utilise le bulletin unique. Et en plus, dans un deuxième temps c’est un processus assez compliqué pour le deuxième tour qui est jumelé avec les législatives », témoigne Hery Manantsoa, animateur et coordonnateur de la sensibilisation dans toute la région. Au premier tour, plus de 6% des bulletins étaient blancs ou nuls.

Source: RFI

Ecowas observer mission commends Malians for successful parliamentary elections

The Ecowas Election Observation Mission (EOM) to Mali’s second-round Parliamentary polls on 15th December has commended Malians for their peaceful conduct and the “imminent successful conclusion of the political transition” in the country following its security and political crises from last year.

 In its 14-point Preliminary Declaration, the 50-member Mission led by Prof. Amos Sawyer, Liberia’s former President of Government of National Unity, adjudged the elections as “having taken place in acceptable conditions of freedom and transparency,” adding that “some incidents” observed in a few polling stations and the “low voter turnout did not in any way lower the conduct of the elections below internationally accepted standards.”

 I am optimistic that Mali is on the right path,” Prof. Sawyer said at a press conference after the release of the Declaration.He described the elections as “another milestone in the rebuilding of democratic institutions that should be accompanied by national dialogue and reconciliation,” noting that with the support of the international community mobilized by ECOWAS, much progress would be achieved.

Source: AFP

Monday, December 16, 2013

Mali elections overshadowed by suicide bombing

Malians began voting on Sunday in the second round of parliamentary elections intended to cap the nation's return to democracy, but overshadowed by the deaths of two UN peacekeepers in an Islamist attack.The polls mark the troubled west African nation's first steps to recovery after it was upended by a military coup in March last year, finalising a process begun with the election of its first post-conflict president in August.

Turnout looked low as polling stations opened in the capital Bamako, sparking fears that voters would be scared away by an upsurge in violence by Al Qaeda-linked rebels against African troops tasked with election security alongside the Malian army.Two Senegalese UN peacekeepers were killed and seven wounded on Saturday when a suicide bomber ploughed his explosives-laden car into a bank they were guarding in the northeastern rebel bastion of Kidal.

Sultan Ould Badi, a Malian jihadist linked to several armed groups, said the attack was in retaliation for African countries' support of a French-led military operation launched in January against Islamist rebels in northern Mali, which ethnic Tuareg's call "Azawad".We are going to respond all across Azawad and in other lands... with other operations against France's crusades," he told AFP by telephone. Senegalese President Macky Sall said the attack would "in no way undermine the strong commitment of Senegal to Mali" in a statement published by the state news agency APS.

These two soldiers, killed in battle, had gone into Mali to defend democracy, freedom and peace," he added.The French army has been carrying out an operation against armed Islamists north of the desert caravan town Timbuktu over the past week.The offensive targeting Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is a "huge military operation, the largest in the Timbuktu region since the major northern cities were retaken by allied forces", an African military source in Timbuktu told AFP.Twenty jihadists have been killed so far, according to French and African military sources.

Voting a 'moral duty'

In the first round of the election on November 24 just 19 of the national assembly's 147 seats were allocated, with turnout at 38.6 percent, a drop of almost 13 percentage points from the first round of the presidential vote.After the first round of the parliamentary election, Louis Michel, chief of the European Union observation mission, called on "all political actors" to turn out in the second round Sunday.
In the specific context of Mali, voting is not only a right, it is a moral duty," he said.

But the campaign failed to capture the imagination of the electorate and many analysts in Bamako are expecting feeble participation.An AFP correspondent waited half an hour at a polling station in the Hamdallaye district of Bamako before seeing the first voter arrive.Regarding the organisation, everything is ready but as regards the turnout... I do not think there will be many people, like last time," said Badra Traore, the chief official in the voting centre.

In the restive north, the voting opened in the Gao and Timbuktu regions, with seats in Kidal decided in the first round. Two of the new intake are former rebels who laid down their arms to join President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita's ruling Rally For Mali (RPM).The operation here in Timbuktu is going well. For a start, women are the most numerous voters," said the city's mayor, Halle Ousmane Cisse. Fifty-two polling stations are open. Election materials are in place. It is calm here for the moment, and this is very important."

Maiga Seyma, the deputy mayor of Gao, said turnout appeared to be good in its 88 polling stations and the voting had opened in an atmosphere of calm, although residents told AFP in Timbuktu and Gao that locals were frightened by the possibility of Islamist attacks.The RPM has vowed to deliver "a comfortable majority" to smooth the path for reforms Keita plans to put in place to rebuild Mali's stagnant economy and ease the simmering ethnic tensions in the north.

But analysts have speculated that the RPM may have to form a coalition with the Alliance for Democracy in Mali, one of the country's most established parties, which was split during the presidential polls between Keita and his rival, Soumaila Cisse.Cisse, who is vying to represent the Union for the Republic and Democracy (URD) in his home region of Timbuktu, aims to become the leader of the parliamentary opposition.

He was among the fiercest opponents of former junta chief Amadou Sanogo, who has recently been charged with murder, complicity to murder and carrying out kidnappings after overthrowing the democratically elected government in March last year. Sunday's election is being supervised by hundreds of Malian and international observers who will mainly stick to Bamako and central Mali, with the north considered too dangerous.

Source: AFP

Friday, December 13, 2013

Madagascar: Televised debate yesterday between Jean-Louis Robinson and Hery Rajaonarimampianina

The two candidates, Jean-Louis Robinson and Hery Rajaonarimampianina, qualified on December 20 for the second round of the presidential election clashed last night in a televised debate, as reported by the Midi Madagasikara newspaper. For Jean-Louis Robinson who came to head on 25 October last with 21.16% of the votes cast and 949.987 voice, Madagascar must find the place that is hers in the international community.
We need aggressive diplomacy in the service of the economy and development for the welfare of the Malagasy", he said. Jean-Louis Robinson also promised that "Madagascar will be the friend of all and the enemy of person". During the transition, you have resorted to secret financing because you are not recognized by the international community," said Jean-Louis Robinson at his opponent.
For its part, Hery Rajaonarimampianina (15.85% of the vote and 711,534 votes) wishes to engage an economic struggle with diplomacy as the primary tool of leverage. We will conduct economic diplomacy. But our bilateral and multilateral relations will be dictated by the concept of respect for national sovereignty," highlighted Hery Rajaonarimampianina.
To recap, Jean-Louis Hery Rajaonarimampianina Robinson and qualified for the second round of presidential elections are supported for the first, by former President Marc Ravalomanana, and the second by the current president of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina.

Source: Indian Ocean Times


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mozambique local elections official results announced

The Mozambique electoral commission has announced official results of the municipal elections held in November, showing significant gains by a new opposition party.The Frelimo party won 50 urban areas, but lost three of the four largest cities to the opposition who also gained council seats throughout the country, in all but two of the urban areas.

According to official results announced by the National Electoral Commission (CNE) last Friday, the Frelimo party won the mayor and council in 50 urban areas but lost Beira and Quelimane to the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM). Results are not yet official for the city of Nampula where the election was repeated due to irregularities, but preliminary results show a gain by MDM, and Frelimo has conceded defeat.

That leaves the capital city, Maputo, with the Frelimo party after scraping through with 37 of the 64 seats in council. Frelimo’s winning candidate for mayor of Maputo, David Simango, has a very similar name to the leader of the opposition who is mayor of Beira, Daviz Simango.The official results are still to be validated by proclamation of the Constitutional Council. Both parties have expressed satisfaction with their performance.

This is the first time MDM has entered party candidates to contest the local elections since breaking away from the Mozambique Resistance Movement (Renamo) in 2009.Daviz Simango was first elected mayor of Beira in 2003 on a Renamo ticket, and in 2008 as an independent candidate, before forming the MDM to contest national elections in 2009. He gained 8.6 percent of the vote in the presidential election in 2009, compared to 16.4 percent for the Renamo leader, Afonso Dhlakama, and 75 percent for incumbent President Armando Guebuza standing for his second term.

The MDM is now well-placed to contest national elections in 2014, and planned to hold its first national congress in early December. Simango has already announced that he will contest the presidency of the country in national elections set for 15 October.President Guebuza is completing his second term in office and will not stand again, but Frelimo has not yet announced its candidate to replace him.

MDM has also declared its intention to win a majority in parliament, where it holds eight seats gained in 2009 elections to Renamo’s 51 and 191 won by Frelimo.Mozambique’s parliamentary elections use a system of proportional representation by province, rather than individual constituencies and the vote in major cities will have an impact.

Renamo did not contest local elections and is unlikely to contest national elections again, as resources and supporters have shifted their focus to MDM. However, Renamo has continued to threaten stability with a spate of armed attacks in the centre of the country, most recently raiding a police post and medical centre in early December at Tica, some 75km northwest of Beira, after the defence ministry announced that 10 people have died in attacks in the last six weeks.

Source: The Herald

Madagascar: la diplomatie au menu des débats entre les deux candidats à la présidence

Madagascar, le scrutin jumelé présidentielle - législatives a lieu dans 8 jours, le 20 décembre. Au second tour de la présidentielle, Robinson Jean Louis, soutenu par l’ancien président Ravalomanana, affrontera dans les urnes le candidat de Rajoelina, Hery Rajaonarimampianina. Durant la campagne, la Commission électorale organise trois débats entre les deux candidats. Le deuxième a eu lieu hier, mercredi 11 décembre, en partie en français : il portait sur la politique diplomatique et la place de Madagascar dans le monde. Un domaine plutôt consensuel pour les deux adversaires.

Lors de ce deuxième débat, les deux candidats défendent l’un après l’autre  une diplomatie au service du développement » du pays. Après cinq ans de crise et de mise au ban de la communauté internationale, le retour de la confiance et la reprise de la collaboration avec les partenaires étrangers est une priorité.C’est en ce moment la République des copains et des coquins », attaque Robinson Jean Louis. Il évoque ainsi la nomination récente d’une proche d’Andry Rajoelina à l’ambassade de Genève. Et durant tout le débat, le candidat de la mouvance Ravalomanana maintient sa stratégie : il dénonce « les putschistes de 2009 » et le sombre bilan de la Transition.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina préfère se projeter dans l’avenir. « Je vous rassure, dit-il aux diplomates nombreux dans la salle, j’ai un programme. Et la bonne gouvernance est une priorité. » Il se montre moins offensif que son adversaire, mais ne manque pas d’attaquer Robinson Jean Louis sur son appartenance au parti socialiste français. « C’est une grande menace à la souveraineté », lance-t-il, « Je ne comprends pas cette affiliation ». Réponse de Robinson Jean Louis : il aurait mis cette activité « en veilleuse » depuis sa candidature. De la même manière qu’il aurait « pris congé » d’une grande loge maçonnique.

Source: RFI

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Guinea-Bissau: Security Council warns of potential sanctions if election is hindered.

The United Nations Security Council has urged a return to constitutional order in Guinea-Bissau, which has postponed presidential and legislative elections until next year, and warned that it would consider further measures – such as sanctions – against anyone who hampers such efforts in the West African country.  “The Security Council urges stakeholders in Guinea-Bissau, including political and military leaders to refrain from any action that could hamper the electoral process and the implementation of reforms, which are key to the long-term stability,” the 15-member body said in a presidential statement.

Constitutional order has still not been restored in Guinea-Bissau, which is recovering from an April 2012 coup. A transitional Government led by Transitional President Serifo Nhamadjo is in place until elections are held. The presidential and legislative elections were to have been held last month but have now been scheduled for 16 March 2014. The Security Council urges the Authorities in charge of the transitional period to ensure there is no further delay or postponement that could further affect the already fragile socioeconomic, security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Guinea-Bissau,” according to the statement.

The Council also expressed grave concern at the recent security deterioration in the country, “including many cases of violations and abuses of human rights and acts of violence against persons and property, intimidation, threats and restrictions of freedom of expression and assembly” reportedly carried out by State and non-State armed elements. Such acts of insecurity create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation among people, and coupled with political tensions, “undermine an environment conducive to the holding of timely, credible, peaceful and inclusive elections.”

Members of the Council called on the Government to ensure the safe full and equal participation of society, in particular women. Briefing the Council in late November, Jose Ramos-Horta, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and head of the UN political mission in Guinea-Bissau (UNIOGBIS), said that lengthy consultations among national stakeholders to agree on the voter registration system and to finalize the electoral budget and timeline contributed to the delayed elections, and affected logistics, including the mobilization of required resources to hold the polls. In the statement, the Council also reiterated concerns about the “prevailing culture of impunity and lack of accountability” in the country, and continued drug-trafficking in the country as well as across its borders.

Source: SAFPI

Présidentielle à Madagascar: un décret fait polémique en pleine campagne électorale

A Madagascar, la campagne pour la présidentielle et les législatives se poursuit, dans le calme, et dans une certaine illégalité aussi. En effet, le décret du gouvernement, daté du mois d'août 2013, qui permet la participation des chefs d'institution et autres ministres aux campagnes de leurs différents poulains, a été maintenu par le Conseil d'Etat, alors qu'il est contraire à la loi électorale.

Le Conseil d'Etat avait pourtant été saisi d'une plainte de la société civile concernant ce décret, mais, selon des informations obtenues par RFI, cette plainte a été rejetée, car elle était hors délais. Selon des documents que RFI a pu consulter, le Conseil d'Etat a rejeté la double requête déposée par la société civile : l'annulation d'une part, le sursis à exécution d'autre part, du décret 2013-593, autrement dit celui qui autorise les chefs d'institutions à participer aux campagnes électorales de leurs candidats favoris.

Par exemple, Andry Rajoelina qui assiste aux meetings d'Hery Rajaonarimampianina Autre détail, ce décret, adopté au mois d'août, a été contresigné - entre autres - par le candidat à la présidentielle Hery Rajaonarimampianina, alors ministre des Finances. Pour Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, professeur de droit à l'université d'Antananarivo, c'est évidemment « maladroit sur un plan déontologique.

Source: RFI

Sadc to deploy 256 election observers to Madagascar

The Southern African Development Community will deploy 256 observers during the second round of Madagascar’s presidential elections that will be held jointly with the legislative elections on December 20, the community’s liaison office in Madagascar said yesterday. The observer mission which will be led by Namibia’s Foreign Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, will be deployed in Madagascar’s 119 districts.

The conformity of the electoral process to the Madagascan law in the first place as well as to the SADC principles will be observed in these double elections, the source from the liaison office added. During the first round of Madagascar’s presidential elections on October 25, international organisations and diplomatic missions accredited to the country deployed close to 800 international observers.

Source: The Herald

Monday, December 9, 2013

Madagascar Elections 2013 : Andry Rajoelina fait la loi et les candidats

29 novembre 2013, le départ est donné pour la double campagne électorale, le second tour de la présidentielle et les élections législatives cumulés le 20 décembre. Si la Commission électorale s’est faite discrète, Andry Rajoelina et son ministre de l’Intérieur a réussi à changer quelques dispositions du code électoral et contourner la Feuille de route pour permettre au chef de la transition d’être le visage de ses candidats à la présidentielle et aux législatives.

Il est le candidat virtuel et omnipotent de ces élections malgaches, car son ombre plane à la fois sur la présidentielle et les législatives. Il, c’est évidement Andry Rajoelina qui a revendiqué la paternité du candidat Hery Rajaonarimampianina pour être tête d’affiche au second tour avant d’enfanter 117 candidats à la députation. Non, il ne viole plus la loi puisqu’il l’a changé une énième fois en sa faveur.

C’est par un décret pris en conseil des ministres que Andry Rajoelina a décidé qu’il peut s’afficher physiquement et sur les supports de communication des candidats. En tant que premier chef d’institution, il se libère du devoir de neutralité et de réserve préconisé par la Feuille de route. Tout cela parce que le président qu’il a renversé par le coup d’Etat militaro-civil de 2009 a participé de son exil en Afrique du Sud à la campagne de Jean Louis Robinson.

Avant même dont la loi ne soit changée, Andry Rajoelina devenu homme-parti a déjà annoncé la couleur. La couleur orange est ressortie pour rappeler non pas le semblant de parti TGV mais le mouvement populaire qui a conduit au coup d’Etat de 2009. Une semaine avant le début officiel de la campagne électorale, il s’affiche sur les télévisions pour annoncer la présentation de ses candidats. Ces derniers ont eux aussi profité du laxisme de la CENIT pour s’afficher sur des larges panneaux publicitaires.

Ils seront 117 à essayer de se faire élire grâce au nom du chef de la Transition. C’est pour la première fois que des candidats sont ceux d’un individu, même pas d’une mouvance politique. Il est clair que Andry Rajoelina veut garder le pouvoir par tous les moyens en mettant sous sa coupe Hery Rajaonarimampianina, le candidat présenté par Kolo Roger et Jules Etienne au premier tour. Il espère aussi avoir le contrôle sur le poste de premier ministre qui, selon la logique politique, devrait lui revenir.

Pourquoi les observateurs disent qu’Andry Rajoelina veut devenir un premier ministre qui aura sous ses ordres le potentiel président de la République si Hery Rajaonarimampianina se fait élire. Tout d’abord, on y voit un scénario à la Poutine. Inéligible ou empêché d’être candidat, il devient premier ministre et garde les rennes de l’Etat en plaçant son poulain avant de briguer la magistrature suprême au prochain mandat.

Ensuite, les 117 candidats orange ne sont pas du TGV mais « Miaraka amin’i Andry Rajoelina », avec la personne et non pas le parti qui a eu le malheur d’avoir investi Edgard Razafindravahy comme candidat à la présidentielle. Enfin, Andry Rajoelina a fixé une règle trop précise pour ne pas être d’un pur calcul politique : si un parti ou un groupe parlementaire a la majorité à l’Assemblée, il nomme directement un premier ministre sans qu’un vote ne soit nécessaire.

Andry Rajoelina fait donc cavalier seul et écarte les alliés naturels de Hery Rajaonarimampianina qu’il veut faire élire en intervenant directement dans la campagne. Aucun des candidats crédités de 4% et plus ne s’est prononcé en faveur du Hery Vaovao alors que Jean Louis Robinson peut déjà compter sur le parti Vert de Saraha Georget et le Hiaraka isika de Camille Vital. Tout le monde veut lutter contre les candidats de l’homme-Etat qui veut régner sans partage dans sa 4ème république.

Source: News 33

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Présidentielle malgache: un premier débat télévisé musclé

À Madagascar, les deux candidats qualifiés pour le deuxième tour de la présidentielle, Robinson Jean Louis et Hery Rajaonarimampianina, ont débattu pendant près de deux heures ce mercredi 4 décembre en direct à la télévision. Premier débat d'une série de quatre. Pour chacun, cela a été aussi l'occasion de se positionner de manière claire sur l'échiquier politique malgache, de manière plutôt virulente.

Le débat entre les deux candidats au second tour de l’élection présidentielle malgache n’a commencé que depuis 40 minutes que soudain, c’est le clash. Robinson Jean Louis, soutenu par l'ancien président Marc Ravalomanana, renversé en 2009, interpelle directement Hery Rajaonarimampiania, candidat soutenu par Andry Rajoelina et ministre des Finances de 2009 à 2013. Il lui reproche de n’avoir rien fait pendant quatre ans.

À chaque question posée par les journalistes, Robinson Jean Louis répondra ainsi d'abord par cette attaque politique, doublée d'un état des lieux catastrophique de la Transition. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, lui, se positionnera systématiquement comme un candidat qui veut regarder vers l'avenir, un technicien qui vient apporter des solutions.

Sur le fond, il s'agissait d'un débat économique et social. Concernant les prix du carburant qui sont subventionnés à Madagascar, Robinson Jean Louis propose par exemple de prolonger la subvention de l'État pendant un an. Hery Rajaonarimampiania souhaite quant à lui que les plus riches paient plus. Sur l'agriculture, Robinson Jean Louis propose de créer 22 lycées agricoles, un dans chaque région ; Hery Rajaonarimampianina, lui, cinq usines à engrais biologique dans tout le pays.

Les deux candidats s'embrassent avant de quitter le plateau sous les applaudissements du public. Le prochain débat aura lieu mercredi 11 décembre et portera sur la diplomatie et les relations internationales et il aura lieu en français.

Source: RFI

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Mauritania ruling party wins legislative election

Mauritania's ruling party has achieved a great victory in parliamentary and local elections, while a Muslim party has come second, the elections commission says. The commission said on Tuesday that based on the results from 121 seats which were won in the first round, the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) and its allied parties have won a large majority in the 147-seat parliament, AFP reported.

The UPR won 56 seats and another 34 seats were won by 14 small parties associated with the ruling party. The main Muslim party Tewassoul, which was being closely-watched as it took part in elections for the first time, won 12 seats. Three other opposition parties won 19 seats in the elections, which were held on November 23. The national electoral commission postponed the second round of voting for the remaining 26 seats for two weeks until December 21.

Tewassoul was the only member of the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) to resist an election boycott. In municipal elections, the UPR has already won 81 of 218 local councils across the country. Tewassoul won three and El-Wiam, another opposition party, took two.A remaining 120 councils will be determined in the run-off vote.

The voter turnout was announced to be a record-breaking 75 percent of the 1.2 million registered voters across the country. The first local and legislative elections in the West African country since 2006 were viewed as a test of strength for President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won the presidential vote.

Source: PressTV

Monday, December 2, 2013

Mauritania’s ruling party wins majority in first round polls

Mauritania’s ruling Union for the Republic Party has managed to win 37 parliamentary seats in the first round of the polls held last month, the independent election commission has announced. Opposition parties have managed to win 14 seats only, the commission added in a press conference.

The ruling party and the opposition contest a total of 147 seats in Mauritania’s legislative elections.  An election runoff is slated for this month with 56 seats in 25 constituencies is up for grabs. The election commission is due to announce the results of the national list of the candidates competing at the national level and the national women’s list of the candidates running for women-only seats later on Sunday.

Source: AA

Friday, November 29, 2013

Rerun of Mozambique municipal elections in Nampula on sunday

The final results of Mozambique’s 2013 Municipal Elections are still unknown as a rerun of the elections in Nampula has been scheduled for Sunday. Mozambique’s Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) has reactivated its voter education brigades in the northern city of Nampula to assure that all voters know about the election rerun on Sunday.

Mozambique’s Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE) has reactivated its voter education brigades in the northern city of Nampula, ahead of the re-run of the municipal elections there next Sunday, 1 December. The announcement about the rerun of the election in Nampula, on 1 December, was made by the Cabinet on Tuesday. The rerun became necessary after it was discovered that the name of one of the candidates was omitted from the ballots, prompting the National Election Commission (CNE) to annul the elections for Mayor of Nampula. In addition suspicions that there had not been secured appropriate security for the ballot boxes, and the wish to eliminate any possible suspicion of possible voter fraud, prompted the Cabinet to also order a rerun of the election for the Nampula Municipal Assembly.

Although the decision to rerun the election on Sunday gave the STAE the possibility to remount the voter education campaign there will not be adding any additional period for candidates to go on a campaign trail. After the decision was made by the Cabinet on Tuesday, the STAE went into action on Wednesday, dispatching its brigades of voter educators to all quarters and neighborhoods, with loudspeakers and megaphones blaring throughout the city to assure that everybody, without exception has heard that there is a rerun of the election for the office of Mayor and for the Municipal Assembly on Sunday.

The candidates for the office of Mayor of Nampula are:
    Absalao Siueia, of the ruling Frelimo Party,
    Mahamudo Amurane of the opposition Mozambique Democratic Movement,
    Mario Albino, of the Association for Civic and Moral Education in the Exploitation of Natural Resources (ASSEMONA),
    Filomena Muturopa, of the Mozambican Humanitarian Party (PAHUMO).

It was the omission of Muturopa’s name on the 20 November ballot paper that caused the annulment. Running for seats in the municipal assembly are Frelimo, the MDM, ASSEMONA, PAHUMO and the Party for Peace Democracy and Development (PDD).


Présidentielle à Madagascar: la campagne démarre pour le second tour

La campagne électorale malgache pour le deuxième tour de la présidentielle débute ce vendredi 29 novembre. Robinson Jean-Louis, arrivé en tête du premier tour, affronte Hery Rajaonarimampianina, ex-ministre des Finances. Ils représentent respectivement l'ancien président Marc Ravalomanana, renversé en 2009, et toujours en exil, et Andry Rajoelina, tombeur de l'ancien président. Jeudi, dans la capitale, se tenait une réunion entre les deux candidats, à l'appel du Comité pour la réconciliation malgache. Robinson Jean-Louis a brillé par son absence.

La réconciliation nationale sous les applaudissements. A droite, le candidat Hery Rajaonarimampianina qui a reçu la « bénédiction », selon ses termes, d’Andry Rajoelina. Au milieu, le général Sylvain Rabotoarison, président du Comité de réconciliation malgache, et à gauche un représentant de Robinson Jean-Louis, Élysée Razaka, ministre sous Marc Ravalomanana.

Une question se pose immédiatement : pourquoi Robinson Jean-Louis n’est pas là ? Son représentant répond : « L’invitation du FMM (Force médiane mixte) est venue un peu tardivement, alors qu’il avait déjà un planning, donc d’aller voir les gens qui le soutiennent dans les régions.

Mais la réconciliation nationale, le CRN qui est quand même une institution de la feuille de route, ce n’est pas prioritaire ?
 C’est tout à fait prioritaire et disons que le candidat Jean-Louis Robinson a vraiment pris ça très au sérieux.
 Oui, mais il n’est pas là ?
 Ça, c’est les circonstances.

Les circonstances donc. Si Robinson Jean-Louis est élu et que Marc Ravalomanana rentre, est-ce que Andry Rajoelina pourra rester, comme il l’entend, sur le sol malgache ? Tout à fait. Il pourra rester comme il veut à Madagascar. Il n’y a aucun problème là-dessus, c’est sûr.

Source: RFI

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Début de campagne pour le second tour des élections à Madagascar

Vendredi 29 novembre commencera la campagne pour l'élection présidentielle et les législatives sur le territoire malgache. Les législatives représentent l'enjeu décisif. Le candidat Hery Rajaonarimampianina ne présente aucun député sous son nom. Le parti du candidat Robinson Jean-Louis lui présente une trentaine de candidats, loin d'une majorité parlmentaire. Pourtant ce sont les députés, issus des législatives, qui vont proposer un Premier ministre. Alors, les malgaches vont ils élire un président faible ?

Selon Sahondra Rabenarivo du Sefafi, l'observatoire de la vie publique : Oui, les malgaches vont élire un président faible, je pense que c'est exact . La juriste, poursuit. Robinson Jean-Louis devrait gouverner avec les députés issus de la mouvance Ravalomanana et du parti Vert, mais avec qui Hery Rajaonarimampianina, va gouverner, ça, c'est toujours un mystère.

Pour Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, professeur de droit « en effet,la question se pose. Hery Rajaonarimampianina ne présente aucun député aux législatives. En théorie, il devrait gouverner avec ceux de la plate forme d'Andry Rajoelina, mais il n'est même pas sûr qu'ils obtiennent la majorité. Au total, 2 052 candidats s'affrontent dans ces législatives, pour 151 sièges, à la future Assemblé Nationale. La majorité parlementaire doit proposer un Premier Minsitre,
que le président ne pourra pas refuser.

Conclusion de Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa : « Que ce soit l'un, ou l'autre des candidats, qui gagne, le futur président n'aura pas carte blanche. Et quand on connait l'histoire de Madagascar, c'est plutôt une bonne chose.

Source: RFI

Mali elections to enter 2nd round in December

Mali's parliamentary elections will enter a second round on 15 December as no party has secured an absolute majority in the first round, according to provisional results published on Wednesday. Turnout in the 24 November polls reached 38.4%, "far short of our expectations", said Minister of Territorial Administration Moussa Sinko Coulibaly, as he announced the results.

Some 6.5 million Malians were eligible to vote for a new national assembly, with more than 1 000 candidates running for the 147 seats. The polls marked Mali's first steps to recovery after it was plunged into chaos by a military coup in March last year that triggered the fall of the country's north into the hands of armed Islamist groups allied with al-Qaeda. They finalised a process begun with the election of its first post-conflict leader in August.

The goal of the new Malian president, Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, is to give his RPM party and its allies a comfortable majority in the new assembly. Foreign and national monitors welcomed the smooth running of the election, which was generally peaceful apart from a few violent incidents in the north by Tuareg separatists. The observers nonetheless regretted the low turnout. More than 10 months after an armed intervention launched by France in January to hunt them down, the Islamist groups continue to stage attacks in the north of Mali.

Source: AFP

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Mozambique Electoral Commission begins reclassifying invalid votes

Mozambique’s National Elections Commission (CNE) on Tuesday began “reclassifying” the votes declared as invalid at the polling stations in last Wednesday’s municipal elections. Polling station staffs tend to be strict in their interpretation of the guidelines, often rejecting votes as invalid simply because the voters have made a slight mistake in placing their mark, or have used a mark other than a cross or a fingerprint in the box beside the name of their favoured candidate or party.

The CNE’s “reclassification” is intended to rescue votes where, in the CNE’s view, the voter has expressed a clear preference. As from Tuesday afternoon, teams from the CNE, with support staff from the Electoral Administration Technical Secretariat (STAE), began sifting through the thousands of supposedly invalid votes. They began with the southern province of Inhambane. This is a stronghold of the ruling Frelimo Party, and in all five municipalities in the province the Frelimo candidates for mayor have such large majorities that reclassifying the invalid votes will make no difference to the result. However, in the election of members to the municipal assemblies, the reclassification of even a few invalid votes could make a difference in the allocation of assembly seats between Frelimo and its main rival, the Mozambique Democratic Movement (MDM).

The vast majority of votes that AIM saw in the reclassification room were truly invalid. These were ballot papers, for example, where crosses had been placed, clearly by the same hand, against the names of both candidates, of where a mark or a fingerprint smudge had been made in the space at the bottom or top of the ballot paper, but too far away from the names of the candidates to make a plausible claim that it was intended for either of them. Both Frelimo and the MDM were penalized by the strict rule that no words must be written on the ballot paper. Thus voters who wrote their names or initials against their preferred candidates were doing them no favours, and these votes were automatically regarded as invalid.

AIM saw one ballot paper in which the voter had firmly written “Nao” (no) against the Frelimo candidate’s name, and “Sim” (yes) against the MDM name. Although there can hardly be any doubt that this voter wanted to vote for the MDM, he or she fell foul of the “no words” rule, and the vote was deemed invalid. There were cases where a cross was put against one name and a fingerprint against the other, but this did not seem to favour one or the other candidate in particular. In the votes AIM observed (from the Quisssico and Vilankulo municipalities), there was no sign of the deliberate invalidation of opposition votes by adding a fingerprint elsewhere on the ballot papers. In previous elections when this has happened, it has usually been unmistakable.

The reclassification finished first in Inhambane city. In the mayoral election there, 742 votes were declared invalid. The CNE rescued 95 of them – 75 for Frelimo candidate Benedito Guimino, and 20 for MDM candidate Fernando Nhaca. This left 647 genuinely invalid votes. As for the municipal assembly election, of the 671 invalid votes, 60 were recovered for Frelimo and 16 for the MDM, leaving 595 definitively invalid votes. The CNE intends to reclassify the invalid votes from Gaza and Cabo Delgado provinces on Tuesday evening, and deal with the rest of the provinces on Wednesday. The CNE wants to finish this task as quickly as possible, in order to speed up the announcement of the definitive election results. The reclassification session at which AIM was present was observed by two journalists and three observers. Neither Frelimo nor the MDM seemed interested in protecting their votes since no monitors from either party were present.

Source: Club of Mozambique

Islamist party cries foul over Mauritania election

Mauritania's main Islamist party said on Monday the country's parliamentary and local elections had been marred by "ballot stuffing" and other forms of fraud. Tewassoul president Jemil Ould Mansour told a news conference the party had found "serious irregularities" which could discredit Saturday's polls, including "ballot stuffing in some places and the resumption of the vote after the count in others.

We cannot accept this fact in any way and we have sent a delegation to the (election commission) to talk about it," he said. He did not say which parties had benefited from the alleged ballot stuffing, a form of electoral fraud in which people submit multiple ballots during a vote in which only one ballot per person is allowed.

State television put the turnout at around 60 per cent, with the ruling Union for the Republic (UPR) widely expected to retain power but with many analysts expecting Tewassoul, only legalised in 2007, to make significant gains. Around 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called "moderate" opposition were registered to vie for 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 councils.

But Tewassoul was the only member of the so-called "radical" opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), contesting the polls. The other coalition partners boycotted the vote. The electoral commission, which has been drip-feeding results from individual polling stations since Saturday, issued a statement saying the delay in announcing an overall picture was due to the "complexity" of the process and the need to be thorough.

Source: Africa Review

Monday, November 25, 2013

Mauritania stages peaceful election despite opposition boycott

Mauritanians voted Saturday in nationwide elections overshadowed by a widespread boycott of opposition parties, with all eyes on the performance of an Islamist party allowed to take part for the first time. The mainly-Muslim republic, a former French colony on the west coast of the Sahara desert, is seen as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, as well as in neighbouring Mali and across Africa's Sahel region.

I think these elections today are a victory for democracy in my country," President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz said after visiting his local polling station in Nouakchott. Around a third of Mauritania's 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, a test of strength for Abdel Aziz five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won a widely contested presidential vote.

His Union for the Republic (UPR) is expected to retain power and opinion is divided over whether the main Islamist party Tewassoul, only legalised in 2007, will provide a serious challenge to the favourites or sink back into obscurity following the election. Some 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called "moderate" opposition are registered to vie for 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 local councils dotted across the shifting sands of the vast nation.

Voting began on time at 7:00 am (0700 GMT) and closed 12 hours later, with no major incidents reported and turnout appearing to be strong in Nouakchott, according to an AFP correspondent visiting several polling stations. The process of voting appeared more complicated and arduous than had been expected, however, and long queues began to build up outside polling stations in the capital soon after they opened.

Voters, most of whom are illiterate, faced the difficult task of finding the symbol for their party among several electoral lists covering parliamentary and council seats. Towards the end of the morning many stations were tripling the number of booths available for casting ballots. I came in the early morning, I have just voted. There was a long wait but I have done my duty," said an elderly woman at a Nouakchott polling station.

Party activists near several polling stations discreetly tried to canvas last-minute support, breaking election law. I know propaganda is forbidden near polling stations on election day, but everyone is doing it," said a campaigner called Rabia when challenged by a journalist.
Tewassoul is the only member of the so-called "radical" opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), contesting the polls after its coalition partners said they would "boycott this electoral masquerade".

The party, associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, professes to hold more moderate beliefs than the country’s jihadist fringe and draws support from female voters and Mauritania's young, urban middle-class -- although it has just four seats in parliament. Party leader Jemil Ould Mansour, who has described Tewassoul's participation as a form of struggle against the "dictatorship" of Abdel Azi, complained of foul play in the voting process after casting his ballot.

I note that deficiencies have been observed by our members, including a campaign inside a polling station by its manager in favour of one particular party and the refusal in some places to let our representatives into polling stations," he said. The UPR is the only party fielding candidates in every constituency, making it a strong favourite over Tewassoul, its closest rival, and the People's Progressive Alliance of parliament leader Messaoud Ould Boulkheir.

I hope that this election will end the political stalemate that exists and I think the door of dialogue should remain open to achieve this," Ould Boulkheir said. Following independence from France and the ensuing one-party government of Moktar Ould Daddah, deposed in 1978, Mauritania had a series of military rulers until its first multi-party election in 1992.

Abdel Aziz seized power in a 2008 coup and was elected a year later, but the COD has never accepted his rule as legitimate and demanded he make way for a neutral leader to administer the vote. We made the necessary effort to ensure that everyone could participate in these elections but, unfortunately, not all the parties were involved," the president said after casting his ballot.

I think, unfortunately for them, they missed an opportunity, an important date, because they find themselves in a situation where they will be absent from the National Assembly and therefore the political debate. The first preliminary results were expected to be announced on Sunday.

Source: AFP

Results trickle in after Mauritania election

Results from polling stations across Mauritania began to trickle in Sunday but the electoral commission said it wasn’t in a position to give an early picture of nationwide trends. The commission said counting had been delayed in many regions where people were allowed to cast their ballots after the official deadline, adding that definitive results from Saturday’s election would be made available “perhaps in the middle of the week.”

State television has put the turnout at around 60 percent, a figure that, if confirmed, would severely undermine a campaign by a large swathe of opposition parties calling for a boycott of the polls. A handful of polling stations have published their results, however, indicating a large lead for the ruling Union for the Republic and improved results for three opposition parties that did participate, Islamist group Tewassoul, the People’s Progressive Alliance of parliament leader Messaoud Ould Boulkheir and el-Wiam.
Highlighting irregularities

The three announced they would join the boycott to highlight voting “irregularities,” including 600 people in one Nouakchott constituency being unable to find their names on voter lists, if a second round were required. Around 1.2 million people were eligible to vote in the first parliamentary and local polls since 2006, a test of strength for Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz five years after he came to power in a coup and four years after he won a widely contested presidential vote.

Some 1,500 candidates from 74 parties representing the administration and the so-called “moderate” opposition contested 147 seats in parliament and the leadership of 218 local councils. But Tewassoul was the only member of the so-called “radical” opposition, the 11-party Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD), to contest the polls after its coalition partners said they would “boycott this electoral masquerade.

Source: Al Arabiya

Friday, November 22, 2013

Mali and Mauritania to Hold Legislative Elections on Saturday

Mali and Mauritania go to the polls this weekend for legislative elections.  Both countries are trying to put the finishing touches on post-coup democratic transitions.  However, security concerns in Mali and an opposition boycott in Mauritania have raised concerns of more instability ahead. Mauritania holds parliamentary and municipal elections on Saturday.  Malians vote for their new National Assembly deputies on Sunday.

Campaigning in both countries has been subdued.

These are Mauritania's first legislative and local elections since a 2008 military coup.  Coup leader Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz was elected president in 2009. Tensions have since climbed between the ruling party and the lead opposition coalition, and these elections were postponed several times. All but one of the 11 parties in the Coordination for Democratic Opposition are boycotting Saturday's vote, which they have called a "masquerade."  Opposition protestors clashed with security forces in the capital, Nouakchott, on Monday.

The only main opposition party contesting this race is the recently legalized Islamist party, Tewassoul, which is associated with Mauritania's Muslim Brotherhood. Analysts said the boycott could backfire on the opposition ahead of next year's presidential race. Mauritanian political analyst Cheikh Mohamed Horma said, "these elections are supposed to be about finding a solution to a political crisis that has lasted several years but that has failed. Instead," he said, "the elections could just make things worse."

Campaigning is also wrapping up across the border in Mali.
It's been almost two years since that country plunged into crisis.  A Tuareg rebellion kicked off in the north, followed by a chaotic military coup in the south.  Al-Qaida-linked Islamist groups took over the north for nine months until French and African troops intervened alongside the Malian army. The presidential elections this July and August went off without major incident.  Voter turnout reached a record high.  Longtime opposition figure Ibrahim Boubacar Keita became Mali's new president and promised a "new era" for the country.

However, Malians said it's going to take more to restore their faith in politicians.  Many are predicting a low turnout for Sunday's vote. A man in Bamako said they hoped there would be a lot of change at the National Assembly, that it would no longer just be a place where people show up to check in and check out and that instead the new representatives would work hard. Security remains a top concern for voting in the north where French, Malian and U.N. troops continue to hunt remaining Islamist fighters who have struck back with deadly suicide attacks.

Rockets were fired on the northern town of Gao on Thursday, just three days before the vote. The situation in the far northern town of Kidal remains especially tense.  Kidal is the stronghold of Tuareg separatist group, the MNLA. There have been sporadic clashes between MNLA fighters and Malian soldiers since a June ceasefire deal.  Two French journalists reporting in Kidal were kidnapped and killed this month.  Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility.

Source: Voice of America

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Madagascar: 10% additional voters for second round election

The independent National Electoral Commission for the Transition (CENIT) announced the integration on the electoral lists for the second round of the presidential election, December 20, about 10% of voters more, omitted until then and who were unable to vote in the first round on October 25.

Modified electoral lists will thus be closed on December 5, as indicated in the Midi Madagasikara newspaper. The total number of voters, estimated by the CENIT on the basis of the data in its possession, should exceed 8,500,000," said Béatrice Atallah, President of the CENIT. 7.823.305 voters were registered on the electoral lists for the first round of the Malagasy presidential election, on a total population which varies according to the numbers between 20 and 22 million people.

 Source: Indian Ocean Times

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Security increased in north Mali ahead of weekend legislative election

Authorities are stepping up security in north Mali as the country prepares to hold legislative elections amid growing concerns about the presence of al-Qaida militants. Sunday's vote will mark the first time Malians have voted for legislators since the March 2012 coup that unleashed chaos across the north. Hubert de Quievrecourt, communications adviser with the French-led military mission in Mali, says the situation is particularly complicated in the Kidal region.

He says the French military is adding an additional 150 troops to the area ahead of the vote, bringing the total presence there to 450. Two French journalists were killed earlier this month near Kidal, underscoring the security threats that remain in the area. Malians elected a new president in August, though turnout in Kidal was a meagre 12 per cent.

Source: The Province

Mozambique Elections: Smooth start to voting with initial high turnout

Voting began on time at 7 am across Mozambique and our journalists report sizeable queues at most polling stations, indicating an initial high turnout. Voting is going smoothly, although sometimes slowly.  Very high turnouts with over 100 people in queues for each polllng station were reported in Ribaue, Gúruè, Lichinga, Maxixe, Chimoio, Gondola, Marrupa, Macia. Bilene, Xai Xai, Nampula, Meuda and Massinga. In some places people had been queuing since 5 am.

But low turnout was noted in a few places such as Montepuez, Chibuto, Angoche, Ulongue. Nhamatanda, and Vilankulo. In Chiure and Moatize our correspondents report high turnout at some polling stations but not at others. There are only a few reports by our journalists and @Verdade citizen correspondents of polling stations which did not open on time, for example in Pemba, Chibuto, Chokwe and Matola. Two polling stations in Nampula reported problems with the registration books, where numbers did not correctly correspond to names.

Candidates are allowed to vote first, and there have been some complaints, for example in Mocuba, candidates were openly urging voters in the queue to select them. Campaigning near the polling station is illegal. Journalists report that 2 MDM delegates were not allowed into a polling station in bairro Samora Machel, Chibuto.

Source:  @Verdade

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Mauritania police beat protesters urging poll boycott

Mauritanian police on Monday crushed a protest by hundreds of youths demanding a boycott of upcoming elections, wounding several. An AFP reporter saw police beat the activists and spray them with tear gas as they waved placards and chanted slogans outside the offices of the election commission in the capitalNouakchott, calling for a boycott of Saturday's parliamentary and local elections.

The police violently attacked the demonstrators despite the peaceful nature of their movement, using tear gas and batons," said Idoumou Ould Mohamed Lemine, spokesman for the Coordination of Democratic Opposition (COD) that organised the protest. Many people, mostly women, were wounded and transported to hospitals inNouakchott," he added, condemning "these acts of violence which are contrary to democracy and the free expression that the government prides itself on".

The injuries appeared to be minor, according to the AFP journalist at the scene. Mauritania, a mainly Muslim republic and a former French colony, is seen by Western leaders as strategically important in the fight against Al-Qaeda-linked groups within its own borders, in neighbouringMaliand across Africa'sSahelregion.
Around a third of its 3.4 million people are eligible to vote in the first  parliamentary and local polls since 2006, two years before a coup mounted by  junta chief Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

The strongman was elected president in widely contested polls in 2009. Around 1,500 candidates have been on the campaign trail since November 7, vying for the leadership of 218 local councils and 147 seats in parliament. But 10 parties in the 11-member COD are boycotting what they call an “electoral masquerade" after talks on how the vote should be run broke down in October. Thousands of the coalition's activists marched through Nouakchottearlier this month to protest against the staging of the polls but the campaign has been conducted without major incident.

Source:  AFP

Monday, November 18, 2013

Professor complains about Rajoelina support for Presidential candidate

 For Jean-Eric Rakotoarisoa, Professor of law at the University of Tananarive, interviewed by Radio France Internationale, the official support of Andry Rajoelina to Héry Rajaonarimam-pianina may lead to disqualification of the latter.  For that, the special electoral court must seized of an application, and determines if, in fact, Hery Rajaonarimampianina has benefited, or benefits from the support of Andry Rajoelina", says law professor.

While the President of the Transition in Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina, announced on 9 November in the newspaper Le Monde of officially supporting Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina for the second round of the Malagasy presidential election, on December 20, relations between the two men would not continue ti be excellent as relates the newspaper L'Express of Madagascar.
Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina, former Minister of Finance, came in second with 15.93% of the vote behind Jean-Louis Robinson (21.10%) seems to be bothered by such support that goes against the electoral rules enacted, because the president of the Transition, Andry Rajoelina, as the other members of the Government, may not legally be determined officially for one of the candidates.
Thus, under article 15 of the roadmap of crisis that frames the poll, "the President, the Government and the heads of institutions must remain neutral (...) particular during the election process".

Rajaonarimampianina was able to finish second because it is a service that has been proven and is not from the coup of 2009. It has a positive image in the opinion that it was not considered to be all men of this Transition. If you change course for the second round, it will be the disaster," says an activist of Hery Rajaonarimam¬pianina who assiduously qualified candidate campaign headquarters for the second round of the presidential election, as relates the newspaper L'Express de Madagascar.

  Source: Indian Ocean Times

Guinea's Supreme Court rejects election challenges

Guinea's Supreme Court on Friday rejected all the complaints lodged against the result of the September 28 parliamentary election in which President Alpha Conde's RPG party won the most seats. The RPG took 53 seats, defeating its rivals but falling short of an absolute majority in the 114-seat parliament. A few dozen young opposition activists gathered on a main street in the capital Conakry on Saturday to protest against the decision, a Reuters witness said. Police sources said they were quickly scattered after police arrived with batons and tear gas. Aboubacar Sylla, a spokesman for the umbrella group of opposition parties, said they were disappointed by the result and called the Supreme Court "incompetent".

We are asking our members to consult with their bases and come back to us on Tuesday," he said. Before the Supreme Court ruling, the opposition threatened to resume mass street protests that turned violent in the run-up to voting, killing at least 50 people. The parliamentary election was the last step in a tortuous return to civilian rule after a 2008 coup. None of the complaints were supported with the necessary proof," said Mamadou Sylla, president of the court. Guinea's main opposition parties had sought to annul the vote, while the RPG had challenged a handful of results.

The confirmed results mean Conde's main rival, Cellou Dalein Diallo, and his UFDG party won 37 seats, while former Prime Minister Sidya Toure's UFR secured 10 seats. Other seats were shared by 12 minor parties, and a period of coalition building is now expected. Damantang Albert Camara, a spokesman for the government and a senior figure in the ruling party, called on all Guineans to put the interests of the country ahead of party affiliations. Large numbers of security forces were deployed across the seaside capital ahead of the announcement of the result on Friday.

Guinea is the world's top bauxite exporter and its vast, largely untapped iron ore reserves have drawn promises of multi-billion-dollar investments by major mining companies. Conde came to power after a 2010 election, but the parliamentary vote had been repeatedly delayed and the political instability surrounding the election dampened some of the enthusiasm shown by investors in recent years. In a country where the president holds much of the real power, the parliamentary poll was widely seen as a warm-up for the presidential vote in 2015, when Conde's five-year term ends.

Source: Reuters

Friday, November 15, 2013

Madagascar: Presidential candidates vow to improve economy if elected

The two candidates who will enter the second round of presidential election, scheduled on Dec. 20 in Madagascar, vowed on Thursday to improve economy in the Indian Ocean island country if they are elected. During a meeting, the two candidates explained one by one their strategy to develop the country if elected to the top post.

Jean Louis Robinson, the candidate supported by former president Marc Ravalomanana, pledged to update the five-year- project of Ravalomanana's "Madagascar Action Plan," open all companies closed during the political crisis since late 2008 and restore trust between international donors and Madagascar. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, who is supported by President of Transion Andry Rajoelina, proposed five solutions for a possible mandate, including a strategy to ensure food security for all Malagasy citizens.

His platform also covers infrastructure, tourism and better cooperation with international donors. According to the latest publication by the Independent National Election Commission (CENIT), Robinson took the lead with 23.98 percent of votes case in the first round of election held on Oct. 25. Rajaonarimampianina followed with 15.17 percent of the tally. According to Madagascar's electoral code, Robinson and Rajaonarimampianina should pass to the run-off election as none of the 33 candidates in the first round had an outright win.

Source: African News

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Madagascar Elections: ESC rejects the request for disqualifying Hery Rajaonarimampianina

The Special Electoral Court (ESC) released its decision on 9 November 2013 relating to a request for disqualification of Hery Rajaonarimampianinam, filed November 4, 2013 by Rakoto Rahasinina Andrianjo Razanamasy, the reasons given by the applicant were that ,the candidate Hery Rajaonarimampianina, use  public property and public powers, the obligation to state officials or political authority or official authority to do propaganda, and dissemination of campaign spot outside the campaign period in Toamasina on October 24, 2013 At 19 o'clock 15, as well as purchases of voting Maroalakely, on 25 October 2013.

The CES is the candidate, who resigned, was no longer an administrative authority and was therefore more likely to hold or use of public powers which consist of legally recognized ways that can use Authority to enable it to fulfill general interest missions. Also, according to the decision of the CES, could not be blamed personally candidate Rajaonarimampianina be perpetrator, and that is the reason why the ETUC has rejected the request.

As for the distribution of campaign spot outside the campaign period that the applicant progressed, it may result in disqualification of a candidate. The same is true of the use of public property which is rather grounds for annulment of the vote possibly obtained by the candidate in question as determined by the CES.
In fact, CES has largely sheltered behind questions of form, without an appraisal of the reality or not of the alleged crime.

For the ETUC, these facts, if true, would constitute criminal offenses that could result in a lawsuit against their direct perpetrators and cancellation of votes obtained by the candidate in the areas concerned. But the legislation does not provide for these cases the disqualification to a second election round.  According to information received by the press, seven judges voted against the disqualification while six others voted for disqualification, others did not vote.

Source: Madagascar Tribune

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mauritania: CENI points out irregularities in election campaigns

Mauritania's National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) has pointed out irregularities in the ongoing legislative and municipal election campaigns. The commission on Monday specifically condemned the use of public resources during campaigns, saying the practice goes against the existing electoral code.

CENI also deplored the use of national symbols such as the president's portrait for personal campaigns by some of the candidates. The commission urged all stakeholders in the electoral process to contribute to easing of political tension to enable it organize free and fair elections. The campaigns for Mauritania's legislative and municipal elections scheduled for Nov. 23 began on Friday. The campaigns had "a slow start" due to a decision by 10 opposition parties to boycott the elections. 

Source: New Europe Online

Monday, November 11, 2013

SADC should take a proactive stance on elections in Madagascar

After successive postponements and delays since a coup d’état in 2009, 33 candidates contested the presidential elections in Madagascar on 25 October 2013. Counting of the votes has not been completed and results are trickling in, with both the Malagasy and the international community waiting for a result that could potentially restore democratic governance in that archipelago. Out of the 20,001 polling stations throughout the country, the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition has validated 18,000 votes, representing 80% of the overall total. A Special Electoral Court will declare the definitive outcome 15 days after the publication of the results by the electoral authority.

A clear winner will not emerge out of this poll, and all indications are that a second round is likely to take place on 20 December 2013, alongside parliamentary elections. The Southern African Development Community’s Electoral Observer Mission has declared the presidential elections free, credible and fair. Moreover, the African Union, the European Union Observer Mission and the International Organisation of La Francophonie issued statements on 27 October lauding the elections as free, fair and credible. However, it should be emphasised that Madagascar is not yet out of the woods and the potential for political instability still exists. Granted, Madagascar is not in a state of war or chronic political insecurity. But the political situation demands that SADC monitor developments in that country in a proactive manner.

As an island state, instability in that country does not have immediate regional ramifications. But the country is going through a difficult transition, whose first step is the presidential elections. Even if SADC forced the withdrawal from the presidential race of key protagonists, including Andry Rajoelina, Didier Ratsiraka, Marc Ravolomana, and the wife of the latter, Lalao Ravalomana, there are no guarantees that the loser will accept the Special Court’s final outcome. The second round is more likely to be a contest between two political novices, Robinson Jean Louis sponsored by the Marc Ravolomana camp and Hery Rajaonarimampianina whose candidacy is supported by Andry Rajoelina. Presidential elections by proxy candidates can hardly guarantee the long-term prospects of a fragile and aid-dependent economy where 9 out 10 inhabitants live on less than $2 per day.

Therefore, the challenges in Madagascar are as much economic as they are political, and both will determine whether the country can bottom out of paralysis. As the body that sponsored the suspension of Madagascar from its processes, the role of SADC as lead mediator in the transition toward democratic governance is crucial. In order to succeed in what ought to be the last steps toward constitutional order in Madagascar, the regional body should insist on the support of the international community, including the European Union, which imposed economic sanctions on the country and a travel ban on key individuals in government.

Proactive crisis management and prevention

Going forward, the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security whose mandate is to promote peace and security in the region will remain pivotal. A few steps are needed to ensure a smooth transition to democracy. First, the current chairman of the Troika, President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, should proactively prioritise the political situation in that country by reinforcing and accelerating dialogue with the signatories to the Roadmap that led to the current elections.

Second, with difficult legislative elections and a second round for the presidential elections slated for 20 December 2013, both the Troika and the chairperson of the SADC Summit, President Joyce Banda, should impress on the Independent National Electoral Commission of the Transition the necessity of respecting the Malagasy Electoral Code and all other relevant protocols that could enhance peace in that country. Third, the chairperson of the Troika should through the offices of the SADC Mediator on Madagascar, former President Joaquim Chissano, insist on the full implementation of the SADC, AU and the International Contact Group on Madagascar (ICG-M) with respect to the holding of the presidential elections. In light of the second presidential round, this is particularly crucial.

Fourth, after the final results for the first round are known, SADC should call for another meeting of the ICG-M to review progress in that country and craft a way forward in order to remove potential obstacles that may derail the 20 December 2013 elections.To conclude, Madagascar is at a major turning point. The presidential elections of 25 October 2013 are cause for optimism. However, the positive evolution that the international community has witnessed in that country demands careful coordination and proactive leadership within the framework of the ICG-M. SADC and the Chair of the Troika cannot afford to drop the ball at a time when the region can effectively show through this example that its crisis management capabilities can be effective when pursued with consistency, fairness and rigour.

Source: Alfredo Tjiurimo Hengari, head of SAIIA

Friday, November 8, 2013

Présidentielle malgache: comment réintégrer les électeurs oubliés?

La Commission électorale malgache a récolté la totalité des résultats et les proclamera ce vendredi 8 novembre. Robinson Jean-Louis et Hery Rajaonarimampianina, candidats d’Andry Rajoelina et de Marc Ravalomanana, s’affronteront au deuxième tour. La question de la fiabilité de la liste électorale divise toujours. La semaine dernière, le gouvernement et la Cénit avaient convenu qu’il n’y aurait pas de retouche à cette liste, malgré les nombreuses réclamations.

Le Conseil des ministres dirigé par Andry Rajoelina demande finalement l’intégration des personnes omises. La Commission électorale n’a toujours pas décidé quelles mesures seront prises. Lors du premier tour, le 25 octobre, de nombreux électeurs n’ont pas pu voter comme ils le souhaitaient. Leurs noms n’apparaissaient pas sur la liste, alors qu’ils avaient été recensés par des agents. Pour la Cénit, il s’agit d’abord de savoir combien de personnes sont concernées. Et pour cela, elle doit consulter les carnets de recensement.

 Vers une liste additive

L'assemblée générale a déjà décidé de ramasser les carnets pour déterminer combien sont les électeurs qui sont omis de la liste électorale aujourd'hui , explique Béatrice Atallah, présidente de la Cenit.

 Madagascar vote sous l'oeil attentif de la communauté internationale

En fonction du résultat de cette opération, la Cenit pourrait décider certains aménagements, afin de permettre à ces électeurs de voter au second tour. Soit les électeurs qui rencontraient des erreurs matérielles rentrent d'office sur la liste électorale, ce sera alors une liste additive. Soit on amène les dossiers des électeurs omis auprès du tribunal, parce que c'est le tribunal de première instance qui est compétent pour statuer sur les électeurs omis, selon la règle 31 du code électoral.

L’assemblée générale de la Commission électorale devrait trancher dans les jours à venir. Si le tribunal n’est pas saisi, il pourrait donc y avoir une liste additive. La modification de la liste électorale initiale est interdite par la loi.

Source: RFI