The Speaker of the National Assembly has called for the suspension of the electoral process just a week before the first round of the presidential election. This declaration was made in consultation with the FFKM, the ecumenical council of Christian churches, following several days of mediation. It comes in the wake of a week of intense tensions and violence targeting opposition protesters.
In her statement to the press on Thursday evening, Christine Razanamahasoa requested “the suspension of the presidential election scheduled for November 16, as well as the suspension of the electoral campaign and all public demonstrations.” The goal is to facilitate genuine dialogue and seek a solution accepted by all.
This announcement aligns with the call for the cancellation of the election signed this morning by nearly 60 civil society organizations and labor unions.
The statement from the former political ally of Andry Rajoelina, the incumbent president and candidate for re-election, is likely to please the collective of 10 candidates who have consistently refused to campaign, believing that the conditions for a “democratic and transparent” election have not been met.
This position marks a new turning point in her relationship with the majority party IRD. Last December, the episode of a vote of no confidence against the Ntsay government had already signaled a rupture between the President and the head of the National Assembly.
This rupture has only deepened since then. Three weeks ago, during the opening of the regular session, the Speaker, who claimed to listen to the voice of the people, stated that the country “was at an impasse.” This declaration was seen as a total disapproval of the collective government, which has consistently refused to acknowledge an electoral crisis.
However, the significance of this political statement remains to be seen. It’s worth noting that the suspension of a presidential election is not provided for in Malagasy law. To be effective, this request will require government approval. Last month, the government, under the orders of the HCC (High Constitutional Court), had agreed to a one-week postponement of the first round of the election.
The President of the lower house has invited all electoral stakeholders to a meeting tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the National Assembly.