There is thus little optimism that the forthcoming elections will offer a reconfiguration of power relations in Madagascar.”
When he was threatened with arrest by the government, he was given refuge in the French embassy from where he continued to issue calls for Ravalomanana's removal from office.
Rajoelina's position, supported by the French government, brought people onto the streets in protests. The armed forces responded with live fire. The deaths of civilians were the final straw for some of the military, who were already on the verge of mutiny. As read in another cable sent to the US embassy, senior generals ordered Ravalomanana, at gun point, to hand over power. He then fled to South Africa.
Following the coup, the SADC imposed sanctions on Madagascar and called for a return to constitutional rule.
But France had a different agenda. Diplomatic cables speak of: “An active and aggressive continuation of France’s Francophonie policy that appeared to have successfully undermined the Southern African Development Community's intervention initiative.
“When internationally meditated talks in Maputo, Mozambique, were taking place, France deliberately broadened the players by flying in former leaders, Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka. France’s aimed to make reinstatement of Ravalomanana impossible and dissuade military intervention to restore constitutional order.”
France's influence continued until 2013, when the next presidential election was taking place. At the behest of the African Union and SADC, Rajoelina and Ravalomanana were not allowed to contest for the presidency. Instead, both were forced to put forward proxies. In the poll, Rajoelina’s ally, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, garnered 53.5 per cent against Ravalomanana’s candidate, Jean Louis Robinson, who only polled 46.5