AU, Europe sanctions impede Madagascar tourism

Published on : Wednesday, November 13, 2013

download18The long-awaited presidential elections in Madagascar failed to produce any final result during round one of the voting, as no candidate could garner the necessary number of votes to be declared the outright winner. A runoff election, closely monitored once again by the African Union will, therefore, have to take place in early December and campaigning will continue until then.

It took the electoral commission two weeks since the voting day to declare provisional results after 99.9 per cent of the voting stations had been tallied in a process termed as largely free and fair by election observers, which came mostly from member countries of the African Union but also from Europe and beyond.

The stage been set for the two main rival political camps to face off once again, as the candidate backed by ousted former president Marc Ravalomanana achieved 21.1 per cent of the votes while coup leader and self styled president Rajoelina’s man could only muster 15.9 per cent of the votes cast.

The coming weeks are expected to see major wheeling dealing going on to have the other candidates urge their voters to back a particular candidate, who should then be able to usher in a renewed period of calm political waters for the world’s largest island. Independent observers fear that should Ravalomanana’s candidate win the military needs to be watched closely as they had allied themselves with coup leader Rajoelina and may still cause trouble.

Madagascar had suffered severe sanctions from AU and Europe, which impacted on the flow of tourists to the island where Nose Bay and the main national parks are the key attractions for visitors. Only recently did a frenzied mob on Nose Bay set two tourists alight over allegations of them having murdered a young boy, but those claims have since then long been dismissed by local authorities who in turn arrested a number of suspects who are now facing a murder trial. Madagascar is one of the seven Vanilla Islands and was present at the just concluded WTM in London where the UNWTO Secretary General Dr. Taleb Rifai together with the Vanilla Islands president, Seychelles’ tourism and culture minister Alain St. Ange, announced the ‘arrival’ of a new tourism region on the global scene. Members are Reunion, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mayotte, The Comoros, Seychelles and the Maldives though invitation to join the group are expected soon to Zanzibar and the islands off the Mozambique coast. Watch this space for updates from the runoff election and signs of any trouble until then or once results are announced in mid December.

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