Following a week of political turmoil in Madagascar, including a series of arrests, the removal of the Senate President, and the postponement of the first round of the presidential election, the international community has released its fourth statement in less than a month.
Partners of the island nation express their “concern” about the direction the election campaign is taking. Only one out of thirteen candidates, the incumbent president Andry Rajoelina, is actively participating.
The statement, signed by nine diplomatic missions including the European Union, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, and Switzerland, highlights the “tense political climate” just a month before the first round of the presidential election (postponed to November 16).
The signatory countries express particular concern about the “disproportionate use of force to disperse opposition demonstrations.”
One of the diplomats involved in drafting the statement explained, “So many astonishing events have occurred in the past week that we felt the need to provide a summary addressing both sides, but particularly the one in power.”
This includes reference to the arrests of opposition figures and the removal of the Senate President, who later claimed to have received threats from government members to step down from his position.
“When the FFKM (the Christian Council of Churches in Madagascar) managed to bring together the thirteen candidates’ representatives, we all had a glimmer of hope,” acknowledged an adviser from another diplomatic mission.
“There was talk of mutual concessions that would have allowed the maximum number of candidates to enter the campaign. But that fell through,” regretted the senior official. “All because one of the candidates does not want to make any concessions, even symbolic ones,” he continued.