So Andry Rajoelina is not going to run for the next presidential election (not that he could under the current constitution anyway)? Does the mean that he is subtly admitting he is/was used as a tool?
If he had fought for so long, manipulated the army into turning on the incumbent government and had risen to call himself president, wouldn’t he want to maintain his status as such? Though the struggle was short, it was still quite a struggle for him to get where he is today. So why would someone who has complete control over a country now make such a bold offer that is more or less irreversible if it were agreed upon? It doesn’t make sense does it? Especially with all the previous talk about having a 4th republic of Madagascar just to accomodate for Andry Rajoelina’s age.
I guess it could be for a couple reasons, or the combination of them:
- Perhaps the international pressure is too much for their government and the lack of aid is driving them to do something to appease the international community, but in a small sense, still get their way.
- Perhaps the puppet master now seeks to clear the stage for the “better alternative” to the HAT government (which could be just about anything at this point) and to Marc Ravalomanana.
Despite the new deal signed with the Saudis, perhaps the government is at their wits end with trying to come up with money to finance their government. They have made cuts to benefits and salaries for civil servants, sold a jet, made up excessive tax bills for the former president and his company… but perhaps they still could not account for the 75% drop in their public investment budget through grants/donations… or maybe it was the loss in tourism dollars?
An offer like this almost smells of desperation… smart desperation. It is almost analogous to when Marc Ravalomanana called for a referendum in his final days as president. It was a move that would never have been considered until it “had” to be, but it was also a move that was sure to draw international attention and support. So now we have Andry Rajoelina waiting to sign an agreement stating that he will not participate in upcoming elections so long as any other ex-president does not. You can almost state with certainty that Albert Zafy and Didier Ratsiraka had no intention of coming back as presidents… I don’t even know how they became involved in the first place! This is pretty much an ultimatum that is squarely aimed at Marc Ravalomanana.
This ultimatum would certainly please France, since there seem to be many news articles stating that they are waiting with bated breath to confirm that Andry Rajoelina would not run in the next election. But it would also be something that would please most of the international community which has been focused on having elections by the end of 2009, why wouldn’t they be happy that Rajoelina is not going to be involved with the elections? After all, he is the president of an insurgent government right? This move essentially puts all eyes on Marc Ravalomanana and his response to this agreement. Will he hold out and demand his presidency back? Or will he sign the agreement so we can get back to democracy in Madagascar?
Tricky little move isn’t it? This puts Marc Ravalomanana in a rock and a hard place, the same way the refusal to accept a referendum did for Andry Rajoelina. Funny how Andry Rajoelina seems to keep stealing from Marc’s playbook isn’t it? Anyway, I am all for the return of Marc Ravalomanana because he was the legal president to start with. If he was to be removed or defeated, that should have been done via the referendum not with this trickery. I think this only paves the way for the scenario that I am going to describe next and makes you question who is really behind all of this because clearly Andry Rajoelina is no longer gaining anything from this agreement if it were to be signed.
The Puppet Master
Who is the real puppet master then? Is it Pierrot Rajaonarivelo? Is it France? Is it both?
There have been many instances where France and Pierrot have had interesting positions on the crisis:
- During negotiations there was a slip up where a French diplomat had called Andry Rajoelina “Mr. President”.
- During days of the coup, Pierrot admits to having a “deal” with Andry Rajoelina. See also my previous post “Never to separate from France”
- Day of inauguration, Andry Rajoelina gives thanks to exiled politicians and offers amnesty.
- Before Andry Rajoelina was even inaugurated, Jean-Marc Chataigner, a French ambassador met to “strengthen ties”. This blog post is also interesting: A very french coup.
- France (or the EU) did not suspend non-humanitarian aid to the country as other Western countries have.
- France urges Rajoelina to publically state he is not running on the next ballot.
Andry Rajoelina is clearly not bringing forth this agreement because it is good for him, actually it is probably good for everyone if we don’t ever see or hear from him again. There must be some other driving force behind this and it no doubt is political.
The HAT has made it very clear to almost everyone in Madagascar that they are the government that nobody wants, and throughout the crisis have been attempting to demonize Marc Ravalomanana. So by putting forth an agreement that would not allow for the ex-presidents to participate on the next electoral ballot more or less creates a huge presidential candidacy void, doesn’t it? Now who do you think could fill that void? OK… enough of the obvious, it will be Pierrot Rajaonarivelo. He has never been an ex-president (even though he wanted to be), and who else is there to run against him? Monja Roindefo? He is popular these days isn’t he? I don’t know or have heard of any other good presidential candidates that could stand against him… so if Marc Ravalomanana ever signs this agreement, isn’t it more or less electing Pierrot Rajaonarivelo president? Is this what Pierrot meant by having a “deal”?
Does this only involve Pierrot or does France have a hand in this? I guess no one may really ever know, but the general concensus on the net is that anyone but Marc Ravalomanana would be good for relations between France and Madagascar… why else would they be so quick to “strengthen” their relationship before he was even inaugurated?
It will be interesting to see what happens, all eyes are on Marc Ravalomanana now because I have no doubt that Didier and Albert signed the agreement as soon as it was proposed (my assumption, not fact). If Marc signs this agreement, then you might as well break out the AREMA party hats because your new president Pierrot will be running the show.
Filed under: 2009 Madagascar Political Crisis | Tagged: arema, ballot, coup, crisis, d'etat, france, hat, madagascar, madagascar crisis, pierrot rajaonarivelo, Rajoelina, ravalomanana, terrorist, tgoose, toiletgoose, tvg |