Madagascar: Independent National Electoral Commission

Updated July 2019

The Independent National Electoral Commission (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) is governed by Loi 2015-020 (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) and by Loi Organique No 2018-008 (Régime général des élections et référendums).

Historical Background

The former Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI, Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) was established by Ordonnance no 2010-003 du 17 mars 2010 portant loi organique relative au Code électoral, Articles 127-129. It was tasked to manage all electoral processes such as compiling and publishing provisional election results. The establishment of CENI in March 2010 fundamentally reorganised electoral management, for it united in one body functions that had until then been divided between two. Responsibility for the conduct of electoral operations was removed from the Ministry of the Interior and its role in elections considerably reduced on the one hand and, on the other, the National Electoral Council (CNE, Conseil National Electoral) which had supervised electoral operations was abolished and its duties transferred to the CENI (see Electoral management until 2010 for details).

Until the structures of the CENI were properly established the Ministry of the Interior retained responsibility for electoral preparations and operations (Ordonnance no 2010-003, Article 157). The provisions of (Ordonnance no 2010-003, Article 129) were met when the Council of Ministered issued Décret no 2010-120 fixant l'organisation, le fonctionnement et les attributions de la Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendant. However, because Madagascar is in a period of transition leading to the Presidential and National Assembly elections of 2013 the Independent National Electoral Commission for Transition (CENI-T, Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante pour la Transition) was established.

The High Constitutional Court (HCC, Haute Cour Constitutionnelle) continued to play its role throughout of vetting and publishing National Assembly and Presidential candidates, processing contentious request for parliamentary and presidential elections and referenda and verifying and announcing the results of these polls (Organique no 2012-005, Articles 131; Loi organique no 2002-004, Articles 48-51, 72-76; EISA 2006, 7; European Parliament 2003, 5).

In 2015, Loi organique no 2015-020 established the new CENI whose mission is to conduct elections "in line with the democratic demands of the political scene in Africa". This new law takes into account Madagascar's own previous experiences, international elections best practices when it came to elections. The new CENI was established on the principles of independence, impartiality, integrity, transparency and professionalism and has been structured in such a way as to advances these principles (Loi no 2015-020, Articles Expose Des Motifs).


Loi no 2015-020 specifies that the CENI be composed of Malagasy citizens, at least forty years of age at the date of appointment, who are in full possession of their civil and political rights, are not members of a political party and who have not been criminally convicted (Article 21). Moreover, members must have participated effectively in observation or organization of at least two national elections as well as having proven competence in electoral matters and either law, public administration, education and communication (Loi no 2015-020, Article 17).

Article 15 of Loi no 2015-020 states that the permanent formation of the CENI must consist of nine members including:

  • A person appointed by the President;
  • A person elected by the Senate;
  • A person elected by the National Assembly;
  • A person elected by the Constitutional High Court;
  • A person elected by the Supreme Court;
  • A person elected by the Bar Association;
  • A person elected by the Order of Journalists; and
  • Two people elected by legally constituted civil society organizations working in the fields of election observation.

Members of the CENI may not (Loi no 2015-020, Article 22):

  • Hold elected public office;
  • Undertake other paid professional activity;
  • Be active in a political party or organisation, trade union or association or professional association; or
  • Be a member of the governing body of a religious institution.

Term of office

Commissioners serve a six year non-renewable term (Loi no 2015-020, Article 21). Sixty days before the official end of its term, each of appointing bodies must elect representatives for the next term. Commissioners are formally appointed by presidential decree (Loi no 2015-020, Article 16).


The primary functions of the CENI are (Loi no 2015-020, Article 38):

  • the management of logistics;
  • the organisation and supervision of electoral operations;
  • electoral training and supervision;
  • the processing and publication of the provisional results;
  • the voter education policy formulation and activity coordination;
  • ensuring compliance with the legal provisions relating to elections;
  • the promotion of conditions conducive to free and fair elections;
  • candidate nomination;
  • certification of citizen and international observer bodies;
  • the accreditation of international observers and the facilitation of their activities; and
  • the preservation and central archiving of election documents.

Permanent Bureau

According to Loi no 2015-020, Article 13, the Permanent Bureau of the CENI consists of a Chair, three vice-Chairs, two rapporteurs and three advisors. The organisational structure of the Permanent Bureau is determined by the Internal Regulations made at its first meeting, and its term is concurrent with that of the CENI (Loi no 2015-020, Article 56). In the event of a vacancy in the position of Chair, the most senior Vice-Chair becomes accing Chair for a period not exceeding forty days (Loi no 2015-020, Article 66). In the event of any vacancy within the Permanent Bureau, the replacement completes the term the predecessor (Loi no 2015-020, Article 67-69).

National Executive Secretariat

The CENI has a National Executive Secretariat, which is the technical and administrative structure responsible for the implementation of the deliberations of the CENI (Loi no 2015-020, Article 71). As such, under the supervision of the Chair of the CENI, the Secretariat is responsible for:

  • preparing draft documents on the for consideration of the CENI;
  • the execution of decisions made by the Permanent Office; and
  • the carrying out of operations related to the electoral process (Loi no 2015-020, Article 71).

The National Executive Secretariat is headed by a National Executive Secretary with an administrative and technical staff recruited through a competitive application process. Members of the Secretariat are to refrain from participating in political activities whereas they are to act in a politically neutral manner (Loi no 2015-020, Article 72-73).

Territorial structures

Territorial structures are constituted as follows (Loi no 2015-020, Article 80) three people appointed by the Permanent Bureau and a representative from each party registered for that election. A citizen may be appointed by the Permanent Office to a territorial structure if (Loi no 2015-020, Article 81):

  • They are a registered voter;
  • has not have convicted of a crime;
  • is not a member of a political group;
  • has proven experience in organizing and observing elections; and
  • and is resident in the administrative district where the head office of the territorial structure is located.

Members of these structures may be removed from office by the Chair of the CENI for any of the following reasons:

  • A violation of the oath of office;
  • physical or mental incapacity;
  • unjustified absence at three consecutive General Assemblies; or
  • failure to declare a conflict of interest.
CENI Chair Hery Rakotomananato, Feb 2018

Main CENI members

  • Chair: Yves Herinirina Rakotomananato
  • Deputy Chairs: Thierry Rakotonarivo, Solofoniana Olivier Ramahadison and Philbert Herve Andriamanatsoa.
  • Rapporteurs: Fanomezana Espere Rakotondrazaka and Ernest Joseph Gilbert Razafindraibe
  • Advisors: Maria Sylvie Raharinarivonirina, Fanomezantsoa Rakotonirina and Charles Randriarimanana.


Funding of the CENI's work comes from general budget of the State, which is based on annual draft budgets submitted by the CENI as well as special allocations for a specific election and, if necessary, funds from other sources such as foreign government and/or international organizations (Loi no 2015-020, Article 106-109). Financial management and accounting by the CENI is subject to the rules and principles of public finance laid down in the general state budget; the findings of both of these must be made public (Loi no 2012-004, Article 51).


Within thirty days of the proclamation of the results, a public report must be submitted by CENI to all state institutions. after every election Article 60 of Law 2015-020 of 19 Oct 2015. This report ought to detail the CENI's conduct of that election, for example, Rapport d'activités pour l'année 2018.

Annual reports must be submitted to the present by CENI, ito Law 2015–020 of 19 Oct 2015, Article 62, setting out its activities and financial position. See, for an instance, Rapport d'activités pour l'année 2018.

Cost of elections

See Cost of elections

Official web sites

High Constitutional Court: [www] (accessed 15 Jul 2019).

Commission Électoral Nationale Independante pour la Transition: [www] (accessed 15 Jul 2019).

Ministry of the Interior: [www] (accessed 15 Jul 2019).


EISA 2006 Election Observer Mission Report: Madagascar Presidential Elections, 3 December 2006 [IN ENGLISH & EN FRANÇAIS;].

EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2003 Report on the mission to observe the parliamentary elections held in Madagascar on 15 December 2002 (accessed 12 Jul 2010).

LOI Organique no 2012-005 portant Code Electoral.

LOI 2015-020 (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante).

LOI ORGANIQUE NO 2018-008 (Régime général des élections et référendums).

DÉCRET NO 2010-120 fixant l'organisation, le fonctionnement et les attributions de la Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendant.

LOI ORGANIQUE NO 2002-004 du 3 octobre 2002 relative à l'élection des députés à l'Assemblée nationale.

ORDONNANCE NO 2010-003 du 17 mars 2010 portant loi organique relative au Code électoral.