- Southern Africa
- Politics - Governance - Election
Madagascar’s sad referendum "joke"
Military officers in Madagascar who declared to take over the government of current president Andry Rajoelina have been arrested. The attempted coup plot which was triggered by Rajoelina’s electoral plan was defused without bloodshed.
A group of military officers in Madagascar who declared to have taken over the government of current president Andry Rajoelina have been arrested. The attempted coup plot which was triggered by Rajoelina’s electoral plan was defused without bloodshed.
A proposed new charter by President Rajoelina, the current leader of the so-called High Transitional Authority, allegedly led to recent protests and a declaration by some factions of the military to topple his government.
The new charter states that Rajoelina would remain in power until a new president is elected.
However, some 20 mutineers were rounded off after shots were fired by hundreds of soldiers loyal to Rajoelina, who had met on a base near the airport in the capital city of Antananarivo.
“Mutinous officers were ready to hand themselves over, but some junior officers initially resisted. Despite the shooting, this crisis ended with the surrender of the mutineers, without bloodshed or threat to human life." Colonel Julien Ravelomihary, a high-ranking member of the High Transitional Authority military, told reporters.
Some factions of the military and the public say they oppose Rajoelina’s new plan, which sets the minimum age to be president at 35 instead of the current 40, because there is no certainty new elections will be held.
Despite the condemnation of the referendum following opposition statement to the effect that the plan will only benefit Andry Rajoelina who is 36, the vote for Rajoelina’s proposed constitution went ahead, with incomplete results putting the ’yes’ vote well ahead.
There were protests against the new Rajoelina’s charter in the capital Antananarivo, and Leaders of Madagascar’s neighbors, said they did not recognize the referendum as legitimate.
Rajoelina has been diplomatically isolated since coming to power in March 2009 and has ignored attempts by regional mediators to broker a consensus with the opposition.
Raymond Ranjeva, a lawyer and professor in Madagascar who has served as a judge on the International Court of Justice, told The Associated Press the referendum was a "sad joke."
President Rajoelina had received military’s support when he toppled an elected president last year after months of violent protests.
Some of the arrested mutineers are reported to have been part of a coup that brought President Rajoelina to power in 2009.