Madagascar: Electoral system

Reviewed June 2019

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Legal and institutional framework

Legal basis Constitution 2010
Loi Organique No 2018-008 (Régime général des élections et référendums).
Loi Organique No 2018-009 (Élection du Président).
Loi Organique No 2018-010 (Élection des Députés à l'Assemblée nationale).
Loi Organique No 2019-002 (Modifiant et complétant Loi Organique No 2018–010).
Loi 2015-020 (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante).
Loi No 2011-012 (Relative aux partis politiques).
Electoral system National Assembly: Directly elected from single member by plurality and two member proportional representation constituencies; has 127 seats[1]
Senate: 33 of which 22 elected from each of the 22 regions; remaining 11 appointed by President[2]
President: Directly elected through universal adult franchise; must obtain an absolute majority or a runoff is held with the best two candidates[3]
Electoral management bodies (EMBs)[4] National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI, Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante) conducts and supervises electoral operations
The CENI vets and publishes National Assembly and Presidential candidates, processes electoral complaints for parliamentary, presidential elections and referenda, verifies and announces results of these
Independence of EMBs[5] CENI: 9 permanent members plus ad hoc representatives of provincial, regional and commune structures. One permanent member each is appointed by the President, Senate, National Assembly, Constitutional High Court, Supreme Court, the Bar Association, the Order of Journalists, and two by CSOs that conduct election observation.
HCC: Nine members, three appointed by President in the Council of Ministers, two elected by National Assembly, two elected by Senate, two by Supreme Council of Magistrates
Political parties[7] Party registration is undertaken by the Ministry of the Interior and must be renewed annually, only a registered party may take part in elections
Party financing: Private funding is unregulated and no disclosure or accounting is required; no limits are placed on the amounts candidates or parties may receive or spend; funding by foreign state and public bodies is prohibited. Public funds are allocated to parties according to the number votes they received in previous election
Mass media Broadcast dominated by state media, print media privately owned; CENI is responsible for the equitable allocation of airtime to candidates and parties during the electoral campaign[8]

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Election management

Election period and dates[9] National Assembly and presidential elections every 5 years, non-concurrent
Elections called by decree of Council of Ministers at least 90 days before election day, polling conducted from 06:00-19:00
President has the power to dissolve National Assembly, in which case elections must be conducted
Delimitation of constituencies The delimitation of multi-member constituencies and allocation of seats to constituencies for the National Assembly is determined by the Council of Ministers without any clear or defined criteria[10]
Voter registration and voters' rolls Voter registration is undertaken by the CENI, registration is voluntary, voters roll permanent but updated annually (1 Dec - 31 January). Voters must present a valid identity card. Voters registered are issued with a voter's card[11]
Civic and voter education Voter and civic education is the responsibility of the CENI, especially for its[12]
Candidate nomination Only candidates that are registered voters and are presented by registered political parties are eligible for registration:
National Assembly: Candidates must be a resident of Madagascar, 21 years or older, be in possession of full civil and political rights, not have been convicted of a criminal offence and up to date with taxes; each must submit a dossier for documenting eligibility; candidates contribute to cost of ballot papers, but contributions are refunded if obtain 10% or more of the vote; candidates vetted by CENI, rejections reviewed by HCC[13]
Presidential: candidates must be must be in full possession of civil and political rights, be at least 35 years old, resident in Madagascar for at least six months, up to date with taxes, pay a deposit of Ariary 25 000 000; must submit a dossier documenting eligibility; nominations are submitted to the HCC which vets them and publishes the definitive list of candidates[14]
Election observation CENI is responsible for accreditation of party agents and national and international observers[15]
Election campaigns[16] Presidential elections 30 days for the first round and 15 days for the second round; 21 days for National Assembly, no campaigning 24 hours before polling day; campaigning and any propaganda activity is prohibited even after the closure of the election campaign
Holders of political gatherings are required to provide written notice to the relevant local authorities
Use of public resources and abuse of incumbency for campaigning is a punishable offence
No limits are set on amounts candidates may spend on campaigning
No Code of Conduct governs campaigning
Conflict prevention and management Disputes involving CENI staff and electoral operations and charges against electoral officials or other parties are made to the Council of State.
Conflicts involving territorial elections referred to administrative courts whereas disputes involving petitions, referendums, presidential elections as well as legislative and senate elections are referred to the High Constitutional Court[17].
Secrecy of the ballot[19] The polling booth must be placed in such a way that the secrecy of the ballot is respected
Voters requiring assistance in marking their ballots may choose another voter to assist them
Voting and counting process In presence of all present the Presiding Officer demonstrates that the transparent ballot boxes are empty, locks them with two locks; security forces barred from precinct unless requested by Presiding officer[20]
Voters vote at polling station where registered, present voters card and identification; officials check name on register, issue ballot paper; in booth voter marks ballot next to candidate of choice, leaves and places ballot box; signs or thumb prints record of voting, official checks it against voter card; finger marked with indelible ink[21]
Counting takes place at the polling station immediately after polling and is observed by accredited observers, candidates and candidate agents[22]
Announcement of results Presiding officer announces results, enters onto the official report of operations form and completes the report; two officials and candidate agents sign the report; documents and all the used ballot papers are attached to the report; a copy of the report is posted outside the polling station, copies of the report are sent to the designated CENI body and the HCC and copies are given to candidate agents and observers that request them[23]
The CENI is authorised to create structures to execute the checking and summation of the results; party representatives and accredited observers may be present; after completion the official in charge draws up an official report and it as well as all documents are transmitted to the relevant CENI structure which publishes the official results[24]

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Table notes

[1] The Constitution (2010, Article 69-70) states that the number of seats and the manner of election be determined by a decree of the Council of Ministers; in the 2019 National Assembly election this was Décret no 2019-189 (see Delimitation of constituencies for details).
[2] Constitution 2010, Article 80-82; the Constitution does not specify the number and exact composition of the Senate, but lays down that it will be composed two-thirds of an equal number of elected members from each of the 22 regions and one-third of members nominated by the President to include specialist judicial, economic, social or cultural competencies. The composition and modalities of election are left to an organic law (Article 82).
[3] Constitution 2010, Articles 45, 47.
[4] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 38, 200.
[5] Loi no 2015-020, Article 15; Constitution 1992, Article 114.
[7] Loi no 2011-012 relative aux partis politiques, Articles 9; Toulou 2009, 198-199; EISA 2006, 15-16.
[8] Loi no 2018-008, Article 111.
[9] Constitution 2010, Articles 45, 69, 70 (Articles 60 govern the dissolution of Parliament); Loi 2018-008, Article 147, Article 52; voters inside the polling station and its enclosure at the close of polls are permitted to vote. Elections should preferably be conducted in the dry season between 31 May and 30 November.
[10] Constitution, 2010, Article 70; Loi organique no 2018-010, 5. Décret no 2019-189 was an instance of this.
[11] Loi Organique no 2015-020, Article 38.
[12] Loi Organique no 2015-020, Article 39. Bodies involved with voter education have significant representation on CENI structures (see National Independent Electoral Commission for details).
[13] Loi organique no 2018-010 relative Élection des Députés à l'Assemblée nationale, Article 8, 20, 22, 29.
[14] Loi organique no 2018-009 relative Élection du Président, Article 6, 9 15, 17-18; Constitution 2010, Article 46.
[15] Loi no 2015-020, Article 38.
[16] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Articles 56, 62, 219. On campaign expenditure see Political party finances.
[17] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 200.
[19] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 154, 158.
[20] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 152.
[21] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 49, 50,154.
[22] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 162.
[23] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 176, 177, 178.
[24] Loi Organique no 2018-008, Article 166, 180, 184, 198, 190, 191.

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DÉCRET 2019-189 : fixant le nombre des membres de l'Assemblée Nationale, la répartition des sièges sur l'ensemble du territoire national ainsi que le découpage des circonscriptions électorales.

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

LOI NO 2011-012 (Relative aux partis politiques).

LOI 2015-020 (Commission Electorale Nationale Indépendante).

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

LOI ORGANIQUE NO 2018-009 (Élection du Président).

LOI ORGANIQUE NO 2018-010 (Élection des Députés à l'Assemblée nationale).

LOI ORGANIQUE NO 2019-002 (Modifiant et complétant Loi Organique No 2018–010).

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