ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, June 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Malagasy presidential candidate Lalao Ravalomanana has condemned the intrusion of foreign states via the influential International Contact Group (ICG) in its national elections, accusing them of robbing citizens of the ability to decide their own future.
The foreign powers announced this week they are considering imposing travel bans on Mme Ravalomanana, former president Didier Ratsiraka and current president Andry Rajoelina if they do not withdraw from the presidential election. They also threatened to freeze the assets of all three candidates and those of their families.
But Mme Ravalomanana said she and Mr Ratsiraka should not be treated the same as Mr Rajoelina, who assumed power through a military-backed coup in 2009 and violated earlier promises that he would not try to hold on to power.
She said: 'Mr Ratsiraka and I should not be punished like Mr Rajoelina. He is responsible for the terrible plight our country is in, after he seized power in 2009 and brought misery upon Madagascar. In turn, I am simply exercising my right as a citizen of this country to stand for president. The CES approved my candidacy and so I shall stand for election.'
Mme Ravalomanana added: 'It is true that we need to set a date for elections once and for all, and we welcome efforts by the ICG to help in that regard. But it is also true that it is for the people of Madagascar to choose who they would like to see as their leader in a free and fair election. I urge our friends of the ICG and African Union to trust the people of Madagascar. Imposing a list of candidates through threats and sanctions is not how democracy should work.
'We do not want to be like Iran, where a Guardian Council decides who the people can vote for; the world is rightly outraged when such control is levied, so why are we being treated differently? No, let the people of Madagascar make the decision, it is through the ballot box that they will punish those who seized power illegally.'
A mediator from the SADC, former president of Mozambique Joaquim Chissano, will hold talks in Madagascar on July 9 to try to resolve issues surrounding the election. Mme Ravalomanana will call on him to allow the people of Madagascar to exercise their right to elect their own president. It is likely a firm election date will not be set until after these talks take place.
Mme Ravalomanana is a former First Lady of Madagascar and CEO of the Tiko dairy company, which she has grown from a cottage industry into a nationwide business over a 30-year period.
Notes to editor:
Madame Lalao Ravalomanana is the Presidential Candidate for the Mouvance Ravalomanana, a growing coalition of political parties dedicated to bringing a secure, peaceful and prosperous future to Madagascar. For high resolution images free to download, visit the Mouvance Ravalomanana Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/96646855@N04/.
SOURCE Ravalomanana 2013