Entrenched Dictatorship or Emerging Democracy? Madagascar's Elections Reach Tipping Point

Aug 06, 2013, 05:57 ET from Ravalomanana 2013

ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar, August 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

In the wake of recent events, Madame Ravalomanana spoke in Antananarivo today:

"I know I speak for many Malagasy citizens when I say we all want to see elections as soon as possible. I do not think threats of sanctions against particular candidates are helpful to the process of restoring democracy to Madagascar; the best people to bring back democracy to our beloved country are the Malagasy people themselves. Instead the path to democracy appears to be getting longer rather than shorter.

President Rajoelina was required to step down unconditionally by 31st July, he has not done so and remains in power. His refusal to step down is now the single biggest block to the electoral process. I firmly believe the quickest way to remove him from Office is not through threats but through the ballot box. The international community has made its position very clear to a possible Rajoelina victory; they will not accept it and existing sanctions will continue. The voters of Madagascar have heard this and will heed it when they vote but the final choice must remain with the people of Madagascar and not with the international community.

I will stand for election and just as I would expect my political opponents to respect my victory, I would respect theirs, irrespective of who the new President is. I would urge the international community to do the same, respect the people's wishes.

Even now our armed forces are under threat of sanctions from France. Nobody understands how this can help Madagascar; we need a stable military to guarantee our security and our sovereignty. With the vast natural resources being discovered in the East Africa region we are fast becoming a vital asset to  the world economy, surely now is the time to be building bridges with us? Madagascar is keen to play a positive role in international affairs and to support other emerging democracies. We have lived in the shadows these last four years, ordinary Malagasy citizens have suffered because a few people abused power but now we are within reach of correcting the wrongs of the past and opening a new chapter for Madagascar

Emerging from a dictatorship is never a smooth process. If countries like Mali and Zimbabwe can have elections then surely it is a right for Madagascar also. Our forthcoming elections may not be 100% perfect but at least we will have a government that genuinely represents the people, a government that will have been chosen in a free and fair manner.

I ask this question of the international community, would you rather have an entrenched dictatorship or an emerging democracy? We know the answer so I urge the international community to work with us to secure our freedom; we want an election and we want it in 2013. Please let this be the year we start to restore the economic prosperity we once enjoyed and give back our children the chance of a positive future. Let 2013 be the year darkness ended and light began."

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/

For press enquiries, please e-mail press@ravalomanana2013.com or call +261-34-07-200-77.

SOURCE Ravalomanana 2013