Madagascar: Opposition contender in presidential polls pulls out for injury

Andry Raobelina, leader of the opposition ARB party and candidate for the November presidential elections in Madagascar, has withdrawn from the race as he left the country Monday October 9 for medical treatment for an injury he sustained at his eye during demonstrations dispersed by the police.

Raobelina, local media “Madagascar Tribune” reports, left the country from the Ivato International Airport, in the presence of several other opposition figures.

The candidate said he would not take part in the electoral campaign that started on October 10 and the voting process set to start on November 09. He tasked his lawyer to submit a petition to country’s top Court, Haute Cour Constitutionnelle (HCC), demanding the suspension of the electoral process per 47 of the Constitution.

“In the event of the death of a candidate prior to a ballot, or in the event of any other case of force majeure duly recorded by the High Constitutional Court, the election shall be postponed to a new date in accordance with the conditions and procedures to be defined by an organic law,” the article says.

Raobelina’s ARB is member of a coalition of 11 parties running for the elections against outgoing leader Andry Rajoelina.

The coalition includes two former Presidents namely Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Martial Rajaonarimampianina.

The country’s Senate Speaker, Herimanana Razafimahefa, has cast doubt about November polls, arguing that the ongoing confrontations and protests that have marked the buildup to the electoral campaign, are not conducive to free and transparent elections.

“It’s difficult for us to go to the elections on schedule, given the ongoing demonstrations and clashes,” he declared when asked by the press about the current political situation. For this head of institution, it is essential to take a step that opens the way to dialogue, he told reporters. “We need to find a solution to move towards free and transparent elections. This is what the people are waiting for,” he added.