Madagascar: Post National Assembly election developments in 2019
Updated October 2019
There was a high degree of public apathy around the 2019 these elections. Only 431 candidates ran for election compared to the 2,053 that contested seats in 2013, a massive decline of 79%. Apathy was also reflected in the voter turnout which fell to 41% compared with 48% in the presidential elections. The results, which were announced without major incident, showed a convincing victory (55.6% of seats) for the IRD, the coalition, backing President Andry Rajoelina, who was elected in 2018 (see 2019 National Assembly election results).
Women in Politics
Of the MPs elected in 2019 17% were women, a decline from 23% in the previous (2013) elections (see also Women's representation in the National Assembly. The decline in proportion of women elected occurred despite women forming a higher proportion of candidates than in 2013 (37.6% vs 10.4%; the number of women candidates fell only from 214 to 162, 25%, while the fall in total candidates was a massive 79%) and despite a large increase in the deposit required from 400,000 Arairy in 2013 to 5,000,000 Arairy in 2019.
Nevertheless, there are positive signs within the National Assembly regarding women's participation: The Speaker is a women, as are three of the six vice-presidents and, for the first time in history, men and women are equally represented inside the Bureau Permanent.
Former President Ravalomanana's party became the official opposition. Soon thereafter, Parliament was convened in order to adopt new amendments on the law dealing with the status of the opposition, including reducing the power of the opposition and its role and scope to influence legislation. The bill has been passed by the National Assembly and is currently sitting in the Senate.
According to observers President Rajoelina enjoys a certain popularity, as reflected by the landslide victory of his party in the 2019 elections. One would suppose that this would lay the foundation for much needed political stability after the unrest and turmoil that has plagued Malagasy politics for decades.
However, since August, there have been signs of tension. The fact that governors of regions are appointees of Ministry of Decentralization, rather than elected, has been a source of public discontent. Indeed, elections for regional governors have not taken place since 2004. Suspicions fraud during the baccalauréat exam have led to calls for the dismissal of the Minister of Higher Education.
There was also opposition to Project Tanamasoandro, which aims to extend Antananarivo by creating a new urban centre. Plans involved expropriating land without consultating of the affected communities, but, protests have receeded since the government opened discussions with those affected. However, shortly after polling day, protests were launched in several constituencies with claims of electoral irregularities and fraud.