As the fourth largest island in the world, Madagascar is situated off the south-east coast of Africa. The island is wealthy in natural resources, and possesses a flourishing tourism industry, due to its unique environment, however, it still remains one of the world’s poorest nations, heavily dependent on foreign aid. The island has strong ties with France, as well as key economic and cultural links particularly with French-speaking West Africa.
Since gaining independence from France in 1960, Madagascar has experienced perpetual political instability, including coups, violent unrest and contested elections. The nation’s first president, Philibert Tsirinan went out of power in 1972, it was thereafter, that the military then seized power with the aim of achieving a socialist paradigm, to which they had no success. Subsequent to this, Madagascar’s foreign minister, Didier Ratsiraka, became the nation’s president.
The establishment of The Republic of Madagascar’s constitution, came into being in 1992. This constitution thereby laid down the foundation and structure of Madagascar’s government and politics. Within this constitution is mention of the need for an executive, legislative and judiciary political system, coupled with a multi-party system. Elections held succeeding the establishment of this constitution, endorsed the removal of Ratsiraka’s presidency, by the public, though he came back into power in 1996, succeeding the incrimination of Albert Zafy.
It it however the most recent coup, front-lined by Andry Rajoelina’s seizure of power in 2009, that led the nation into five years of political deadlock, international isolation, as well as condemnation, and economic sanctions, depriving the nation of foreign aid.
Despite the return of democratic elections in 2013, accompanied by the election of new president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, in 2014, the political situation remains fragile, due to the president’s inability to deliver on his promises, as well as his failure to enhance the country’s economic predicament, to which parliament later voted for his impeachment in May 2015. This impeachment however failed to succeed, due to unconstitutional vote-tempering and decision-making.
Major political parties of Madagascar include AREMA, LEADER, Fihaonana Party, TIM and RPSD.
Independence Year – 1960
President – Hery Rajaonarimampianina
Currency – Ariary
Capital City – Antananarivo
GDP (2015) – US$ 12 billion
Population (2016) – 24, 902, 879
Religion(s) – Traditional beliefs, Christian, Roman Catholic, Muslim
Major Language(s) – Malagasy, French
Government – Semi-Presidential Representative Democratic Republic
Democracy Ranking (2015) – 90
Life Expectancy – 65 (men), 69 (women)