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Ravalomanana, 2002-2005 - Fast country risk profile Madagascar

Solofo Randrianja

Swiss Peace Foundation, 2005

SARPN acknowledges Swiss Peace as the source of this document
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Abstract

This working paper analyses the post-electoral dispute of 2002 in Madagascar, one of the greatest crises since the country's independence, highlighting the role of the various protagonists and the efforts of the international community to mediate a settlement. Although not the cause of the crisis, the difficult economic context played a decisive role in its escalation. The principal factors creating a climate favorable for the eventual outbreak of nation-wide conflict were the democratic aspirations of the majority of the population and the corresponding reactions of various political leaders. The violence ultimately manifested itself in different ways and levels of intensity from region to region. French diplomacy provided much of the inspiration for the efforts of international and particularly African mediators, efforts that were largely ineffective because of their reliance on ready-made "packages". In the emotional context that evolved during the crisis traditional mediators situated in local civil society were also compelled to adopt partisan positions. Despite the six-month duration of the crisis, and the reasonable expectations of escalation, there were relatively few casualties. This can be attributed to local conflict resolution mechanisms, which have been little researched until now. Though the new regime established at the end of the crisis as yet enjoys only a slender electoral legitimacy, it has been sustained by a general spirit and desire for change, and has benefited from a period of grace and the sympathy of the Bretton Woods institutions. The government's next challenge will be the elections due in 2007, these are far enough away to allow the new leaders to prove themselves, but close enough to provide the opposition with some hope for institutionalized transformation, reducing the risk of an unconstitutional and possibly violent, change whatever the flaws of the new government.



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