Madagascar profile

President: Hery Rajaonarimampianina

Madagascar's President Rajaonarimampianina Mr Rajaonarimampianina is a former finance minister

Hery Rajaonarimampianina was chosen as president in January 2014 in an election seen as a major step towards restoring democracy.

The African Union lifted its four-year suspension of Madagascar shortly after his swearing-in, hailing what it called "inclusive, credible and legitimate" elections, the first since a 2009 coup.

Hery Rajaonarimampianina, 55 at the time of taking office, called for national unity and reached out to political rivals to help return the country to its past glory.

"I ask you my political family and friends, help me to promote the great destiny of national unity," he said.

Opposition plans

The Canadian-educated former finance minister was backed in the elections by the country's former strongman Andry Rajoelina.

His rival in the poll, Robinson Jean Louis, conceded defeat and told reporters that "this time, the opposition will be able to advise the state" instead of "always opposing, disrupting and marching on the streets."

Mr Rajoelina, and the man he ousted in the 2009 coup, Marc Ravalomanana, were barred from standing in the presidential elections under the terms of a deal brokered by regional African states meant to end the political turmoil.

The 2009 coup plunged Madagascar into a political crisis that has sharply slowed economic growth and deepened poverty.

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