There is thus lit­tle op­ti­mism that the forth­com­ing elec­tions will of­fer a re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of power re­la­tions in Mada­gas­car.”

The East African - - NEWS -

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

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