ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, June 27, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Madagascar will need free and fair elections if it is to propel itself back onto the international stage and attract global leaders to its shores like US President, Barack Obama, according to presidential candidate Lalao Ravalomanana.
Her call comes as the US President travelled to Africa yesterday for an eight-day visit to Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania, his first trip to the continent since 2009. However, Madagascar will never attract such high-profile world leaders - and the foreign direct investment (FDI) they bring with them - unless its elections this summer propel a viable candidate into the office of Malagasy president.
FDI into Madagascar increased from $85m in 2005 to $1.2bn in 2008 under the presidency of Lalao's husband Marc, before falling to $860m in 2010 after he was ousted by a military-backed coup in 2009. The latest figure for FDI was $907m in 2011, according to the World Investment Report 2012, as previous investors cancelled funding after the current president seized power. Increasing FDI back to pre-coup levels is one of the main pledges of Mme Ravalomanana's campaign.
Mme Ravalomanana said: "Madagascar will need a viable election and a fairly elected president of the people if we are to win the respect of influential leaders on the international stage like President Obama. Increasing foreign investment and international aid into Madagascar is key to putting more food on the table of our people and increasing their quality of life. To ensure this happens, we must come together at the ballot box and unite as one people. We will only make a difference if we act in unison and, if elected, I will work unstintingly to ensure this happens."
She was First Lady of Madagascar during her husband's presidency from 2002-2009, before he was ousted by the current incumbent, who is also running in the elections despite giving assurances he would abstain.
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