ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, June 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Madagascar's Presidential candidate, Lalao Ravalomanana, is using the country's Independence Day today to call for free and fair elections and an end to political turmoil.
Former first lady, Mme Ravalomanana, has pledged to return Madagascar to political stability and prosperity in the country's first democratic elections following a military coup in 2009.
Speaking in Antananarivo today, Mme Ravalomanana said: "Independence Day is a day for the Malagasy people to unite in peace and optimism and showcase our beloved country to the world. But true independence can only be achieved in a place that is democratic and politically stable. Our country has so much to offer, from our cultural heritage to our rich lands and sea, but after years of poor governance, Madagascar has lost its credibility on the international stage.
"I have been saddened to see our Independence Day celebrations boycotted by foreign embassies in recent years, although this is understandable given their objection to the current, military-backed junta. As President, I will make it a priority to rebuild relations with these embassies, so that next year our Independence Day will be the truly international event it deserves."
Mme Ravalomanana is the candidate for the cross-party Mouvance Ravalomanana movement and is widely considered the key contender for the presidency. Her election campaign is staked on increasing foreign direct investment and international aid into the country, which were suspended after the current president assumed power in 2009.
Mme Ravalomanana is confident that if she is elected by the Malagasy people, she can lead Madagascar back to prosperity and regain the trust of the international community.
If successful, Mme Ravalomanana will become the third female ruler in Africa, alongside President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia and President Joyce Banda of Malawi, building on Madagascar's rich historical heritage of female leaders and making a strong visible statement in support of the country's women.
Mme Ravalomanana 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