Malagasy senators wasted no time in unanimously electing their new Senate President, Richard Ravalomanana, following the sudden removal of Herimanana Razafimahefa. While those within the ruling party celebrate the election of a man appointed as a senator by President Andry Rajoelina, this vote has also faced intense criticism. On the same day, the opposition organized a protest to denounce these recent events.
Richard Ravalomanana, in his inaugural address as Senate President, expressed his belief that the country’s current situation cannot be classified as a crisis and can be managed without fear. “The right man in the right place,” affirmed Senator Mahalo Tsiebo.
For the senators who unanimously elected him, Ravalomanana, who served as Secretary of State for the gendarmerie from 2019 to 2021, is deemed to be the man for the job. Mahaleo Tsiebo, leader of the IRD parliamentary group in the Senate, emphasized Ravalomanana’s background, experience, and his adept handling of similar situations in Madagascar a decade ago, dismissing speculations of vote manipulation as baseless.
However, the rapid succession of events within the Senate within 48 hours has drawn criticism, starting with Roland Ratsiraka, interviewed during the “Collective of the 11 Candidates” protest. He lamented the state of affairs, describing it as a “banana republic” and expressing sadness over the degradation of Madagascar’s institutions and governance. He stressed that the nation was enduring unprecedented violence in terms of governance and law, deeming it a catastrophe.
The Civil Society’s Legal Challenge
A statement signed by 41 organizations and submitted to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) denounced the illegality of the government’s hasty convocation of an extraordinary session and the subsequent removal of the Senate President.
The statement asserted that the hastily organized extraordinary session was intentionally orchestrated to depose the current Senate President due to his recent revelations about the government, with punitive intent. It called upon citizens and concerned stakeholders who seek stability and democracy in Madagascar to remain vigilant and committed, ready to reject and challenge any illegal maneuvers that benefit a select few oligarchs but lead the country into chaos and most of its citizens into misery.