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13 candidates contested the election, including the current, and former, presidents.

The country was hoping for its third peaceful election since the political crisis of 2009, when Andry Rajoelina ousted then President Marc Ravalomanana in a coup backed by the army.

The 2023 election came at a time of unprecedented socio-political and economic tension, with Madagascar having faced several natural disasters and difficult economic and social conditions since the previous election.

The election campaign began on 10 October, although the leading opposition candidates, known as the “Collective of Eleven”, said they would abstain from campaigning until their grievances were addressed.

These grievances included demands for the disqualification of Rajoelina as a candidate due to his acquisition of dual Malagasy-French citizenship in 2014. Only Malagasy citizens may run for office and, according to Article 42 of the 1960 law on citizenship, an adult loses Malagasy citizenship if they voluntarily acquire a foreign citizenship.

Opposition candidates had held daily demonstrations since 2 October, with up to 50,000 supporters in attendance. Two of the candidates, Marc Ravalomanana and Andry Raobelina, were injured in a demonstration on 7 October when police and soldiers fired tear gas to disperse a gathering of opposition supporters.

Tensions grew ahead of the election and there were concerns the poll would not be seen as being “free and fair”. There were doubts the results would be accepted by everyone.

The UK Government expressed concern at the tense political atmosphere in Madagascar and called on all parties to exercise restraint, and for efforts to be made to restore confidence in the electoral process. The US Government, which provided funding for the elections, also urged the government of Madagascar to “respect the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly”.

In October 2023 the UN Human Rights office expressed concern at the deteriorating human rights situation in Madagascar in the lead up to the presidential election and urged the Malagasy authorities to ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law throughout the electoral period and beyond.

Election results

On 25 November Madagascar’s Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) published the provisional results of the presidential election.

Provisional election results

The results showed incumbent president Andry Rajoelina was re-elected with a clear majority, winning 58% of votes and, in securing more than half of votes cast, a second-round runoff poll would not be required.

However, 10 presidential contenders called for a boycott of the elections and have said they do not accept the results.

The boycott factored towards a turnout of 46.36%, considered to be the lowest figure in Madagascar’s history.

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