After numerous international meetings regarding the crisis of control in Madagascar, former president Ratsiraka finally gave up his bid to retain power and left the island nation in June. He’s allegedly now in France.
When his reelection bid failed last December, Ratsiraka maintained that challenger Marc Ravalomanana, now Madagascar’s unopposed president, did not receive more than 50% of the vote. A recount in February showed that Ravalomanana had indeed won 51%, and he claimed the presidency. Ratsiraka moved out of the capital city and established his own provisional government along the coast, where he had strong support. He blocked all imports and exports and cut off transportation links to the capital.
Now, with Ratsiraka out of the country, the roadblocks are coming down and Ravalomanana is solidifying control over the island. “Ravalomanana’s big objective is to get things moving again,” says Mike O’Keefe, U.S. State Department desk officer for Madagascar and Tanzania. “Economic indicators should recover in a few months—I hope.”