See Wikipedia article: History of Madagascar
The Malagasy Republic, proclaimed on October 14, 1958, became an autonomous state within the French Community. A period of provisional government ended with the adoption of a constitution in 1959 and full independence on June 26, 1960, with Philibert Tsiranana as President.
Tsiranana's rule represented continuation, with French settlers (or colons) still in positions of power. Unlike many of France's former colonies, the Malagasy Republic strongly resisted movements toward communism. In 1972 protests against these policies came to a head and Tsiranana had to step down. He handed power to General Gabriel Ramanantsoa of the army and his provisional government. This régime reversed previous policy in favour of closer ties with the Soviet Union.
People's Republic of MadagascarEdit
On June 15, 1975, Lieutenant-Commander Didier Ratsiraka (previously having served as foreign minister) came to power in a coup. Elected president for a seven-year term, Ratsiraka moved further toward socialism, nationalising much of the economy and cutting all ties with France. These policies hastened the decline in the Madagascan economy that had begun after independence as French immigrants left the country, leaving a shortage of skills and technology behind. Ratsiraka's original seven-year term as President continued after his party (Avant-garde de la Révolution Malgache or AREMA) became the only legal party in the 1977 elections. The economy being as it was, Ratsiraka had begun to reform some of the socialist policies to encourage a market economy. As the economy improved, Ratsiraka retained favor with the AREMA party and the power of the presidency in the single party elections of 1981. Though retaining strong ties with the USSR, relations with France warmed considerably with the election that same year of socialist François Mitterrand as president of that country.
With the collapse of the socialist governments of both the USSR and France on Doomsday, Madagascar lost its two greatest allies. Ratsiraka had begun to see the virtues of a market economy and the accompanying democracy that makes it work. However, it took the rise of an alternative government led by Albert Zafy (formerly minister of Public Health and Social Affairs under Gabriel Ramanantsoa) to bring about change. As the result of the Panorama Convention of 1991, a transitional government was formed that served until elections in 1993. In those elections Zafy was elected in the first elections of the new democratic government.
Republic of MadagascarEdit
Though democratically elected, Albert Zafy found that he did not get along with the prime minister, Francisque Ravony, who had been appointed by the National Assembly. Therefore, banking on his popularity, he held a public referendum which granted him the power to choose his own prime minister. This abuse of power lead to his impeachment and removal from office in 1996. In the resulting election of 1996, though, he was allowed to run again for president. He was narrowly defeated in a runoff election against former president Didier Ratsiraka. Ratsiaka, then, became president of the new democracy that had ousted him three years previously.
This democracy, though, was strained at best. Having a balance of power, of sorts, the government has proven to be on the brink of collapse ever since it was formed. Ratsiraka ran for re-election in 2001, only to be denied further reign by the High Constitutional Court who decided the official recount of votes gave the presidency to his opponent, Marc Ravalomanana. After unsuccessfully challenging this ruling, Ratsiraka fled to Zaire. Ravalomanana finally took power in July of 2002. He would win re-election in 2006, but subsequent decisions on his part would lead to further unrest.
Present Transitional GovernmentEdit
The year 2009 was unstable due to the power play of then president Ravalomanana in which he closed the television station of political opponent Andry Rajoelina. This action in a democratic state caused an uproar in the capital city (which had voted overwhelmingly for Ravalomanana) and Rajoelina, having recently been fired as mayor by the president, was able to garner the support of the military. In March of 2009, the president resigned to the army, having set up a provisional interim government for the military to run. The military put Rajoelina, 34, in charge of the country. According to the constitution, though, the president must be at least 40 years old. Rajoelina, however, intends to remain interim president until the 2011 elections. Presently, his third appointed prime minister in a year is Cécile Manorohanta, former minister of defense.
Ravalomanana fled to New Britain, after a short stay in KwaXhosa. Though courts would convict him on charges of corruption, he would return to Madagascar in an international attempt at resolving the continuing political crisis.
Mediation Crisis TalksEdit
Former exiled president of Madagascar Marc Ravalomanana, President of the High Authority of Transition of Madagascar Andry Rajoelina, former exiled Madagascar president Didier Ratsiraka and former president of the Malagasy Republic Albert Zafy met in August 2009 in Madagascar for four day long mediation crisis talks with the former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano acting as mediator. Representatives from the West African Union (WAU), League of Nations (LoN), and from among nations of the Francophone Community. The mediation talks hoped to arrive at a way for Ravalomanana to return to Madagascar from his exile in New Britain. The talks are also a trade meeting to begin negotiations on the transition charter to seek new elections in Madagascar. Ratsiraka who has been exiled in Zaire, had his amnesty issue resolved at the talks. The four leaders sought for Madagascar to again become a member of the League of Nations.
Unity Government DealEdit
On November 7, the leaders agreed to a power-sharing deal in which Rajoelina stays as president, creation of two co-presidents, Fetison Rakoto Andrianirina, aide to former President Ravalomanana and Emmanuel Rakotovahiny, aide to former President Zafy. Prime Minister Eugene Mangalaza who was appointed on October 10 was retained to head the 31-member cabinet. The deal created a 65-member council of transitional advisers and a transitional parliament composed of 258 members. However, the whole plan was rejected by Rajoelina on December 18, and he appointed Cécile Manorohanta to be the new prime minister. As of March 1, 2010, the transitional government is holding firm, though members of the military have petitioned Rajoelina to appoint a military leader to be prime minister. Though rejecting the power-sharing deal, Rajoelina went ahead with plans for elections later in the month. However, those elections were put off until the week of May 18, 2010.
Before those elections could take place, though, Rajoelina walked out of talks in New Britain, complaining that the other leaders were not willing to compromise. On May 14th, he pulled himself out of the presidential election which was then set for November 26th. A televised debate on the constitution was to be held May 27-29, 2010, with a referendum to follow on August 12th. Legislative elections were set for September 30th.
On June 29th, the referendum was postponed until November 17, 2010.
Because of the on-going crisis, Madagascar's membership in the League of Nations has been suspended. Secretary General Taufa’ahau Tupou has been quoted as saying, "I am "gravely concerned about the evolving developments in Madagascar." The Union of South Africa has reserved judgment, but New Britain insisted that Rajoelina abide by the mediated deal by March 16, 2010.
An economic boycott went into effect by ANZC and others, causing the loss of thousands of jobs in the crucial export business. Unrest among the people toward foreign interference grew as the year went on.
Madagascar is a member of FIFA.