President Andry Rajoelina Embarks on Nationwide Tour Amid Legislative Campaign

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Andry Rajoelina

Amid the legislative election campaign, scheduled for May 29th, President Andry Rajoelina has been actively touring the provinces of Madagascar. Over the past week, he has visited more than thirty districts, seizing the opportunity to distribute aid and showcase new infrastructure projects, despite regulations mandating the neutrality of state representatives during election periods.

A Controversial Tour

President Rajoelina’s tour, which began in the Central Highlands and extended to the Grand South, involved distributing solar kits to vulnerable households and issuing land certificates. Notably, he also “officially handed over” various new infrastructures to the public, such as in Antsirabe, Madagascar’s third-largest city and a stronghold of the opposition TIM party. On Thursday, May 16, he presented a newly constructed university campus, an action that critics argue contravenes Article 61 of the election law, which prohibits such activities during campaign periods.

Opposition candidates for the legislature have vehemently criticized these actions. Political analyst Serge Zafimahova views this as a clear attempt to support pro-government candidates in areas where the opposition has significant influence. “When the president encourages people to make the right choice so that future elected officials can work with him, it constitutes propaganda, which is forbidden. The Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) and the High Constitutional Court (HCC) must take measures against this slide towards authoritarianism.”

During his visit to Antsirabe, President Rajoelina made several implicit references to the legislative elections, urging the population to “part ways with those hindering development” and encouraging residents of other localities to “open their hearts” and “prove their love” for him.

Lova Ranoromaro, the president’s spokesperson, insists that these infrastructure handovers comply strictly with legal requirements. She maintains that there were no ribbon-cutting ceremonies or appearances by pro-government candidates during these events, emphasizing that the activities were simply a matter of fulfilling promises made to the populace.

As the legislative elections approach, the actions of President Rajoelina continue to stir debate, with calls for regulatory bodies to ensure fair play and adherence to electoral laws. The balance between governance and campaign activities remains a contentious issue, highlighting the delicate nature of political processes in Madagascar.


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