November 30, 2023

Madagascar army warns against coup


Madagascar’s army has warned against any attempt to destabilise the country after the island nation’s top prosecutor announced that two officers had been charged with inciting rebellion before the November 16 presidential election.

Ten out of 12 opposition candidates boycotted the vote following weeks of violent street protests.

The electoral commission declared the incumbent Andry Rajoelina the winner, and the constitutional court is due to certify the results on Friday.

The prosecutor, Narindra Rakotoniaina, said in a statement late on Tuesday that two army officers had been jailed and would remain in custody until a hearing on Jan. 16.

She did not name the officers or provide their rank.

Addressing reporters in the capital Antananarivo on Wednesday, General William Michel Andriamasimanana did not mention the arrests but said the army was committed to respecting the outcome of the election.

“Any form of destabilisation, direct or indirect, whether from inside or outside and which will hinder the development of Madagascar carried out by the next leader, will not be accepted,” he said.

Rajoelina first took power in the country of 30 million people by ousting then-president Marc Ravalomanana in a 2009 coup.

He stepped down in 2014 after almost five years as leader of a transitional authority and then won election in 2018.

In 2021, the authorities arrested dozens of people whom they accused of plotting to kill Rajoelina and topple the government.

Ravalomanana was one of the candidates who boycotted this month’s poll as was another former president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina.

They said Rajoelina is ineligible to run because he acquired French nationality in 2014 and demanded that new people be put in charge of the electoral commission.

Rajoelina has defended the fairness of the vote and said the constitution does not require the president to exclusively hold Malagasy nationality. (NAN

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