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Crisis in Madagascar

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On March 17, 2009, after demonstrations in the capital, President Ravalomanana signed power over to the military, which in turn conferred the presidency on opposition leader Andry Rajoelina, the mayor of Antananarivo and leader of the demonstrations. Rajoelina declared himself “President of the High Transitional Authority” (HAT) and pledged to hold presidential elections by October 2010 (a pledge that he did not fulfill), following a constitutional referendum and revision of the electoral code. The United States condemned the unconstitutional and undemocratic change of power in Madagascar and considers the series of events of early 2009 that led to the installation of the de facto leadership to be a military coup d'etat.

On September 17, 2011, representatives of most of Madagascar's major political factions signed a "Roadmap for Ending the Crisis in Madagascar," endorsed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), aimed at ending the long political crisis through the formation of a more inclusive, power-sharing interim government that would prepare the country for elections.

The United States considers the series of events in Madagascar in early 2009 to be a military coup d'etat and, as a result, has suspended all assistance programs that directly benefit the government as well as all non-humanitarian assistance to Madagascar.

Following the 2009 coup d'etat, Madagascar was suspended from participating in African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) activities until constitutional order is restored. Most donors in Madagascar, including the United States and the European Union, have suspended assistance programs to the Government of Madagascar. The AU formed an International Contact Group to coordinate international community action to ensure a return to constitutional rule as quickly as possible, and SADC appointed former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano as a mediator in the effort to find a consensual, negotiated solution to the ongoing political crisis. Additionally, the AU and others have enacted certain targeted sanctions or travel restrictions on members of the HAT regime who are impeding a return to free, fair, and durable democracy in Madagascar.The United States’ intent is to support international efforts led by SADC and the AU to ensure that a credible electoral process takes place as soon as possible, organized by an independent entity.

Madagascar’s ongoing political crisis continues to negatively impact key economic indicators and the business sector. Due to the actions of the HAT regime, Madagascar no longer met eligibility requirements for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as of the end of 2009, a situation which resulted in the loss of thousands of jobs. Parts of the country have returned to a barter economy, and standards of living have progressively declined since the coup.

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Last updated: January 28, 2015

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