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More than 30 presidential hopefuls to run in Madagascar

BBC Monitoring

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President Hery Rajaonarimampianina delivers his official speech to the press as a new government led by Prime Minister Christian Ntsay was appointed and presented to the press at the presidential palace of Iavoloha on June 11, 2018 in Antananarivo.
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Madagascar's High Constitutional Court (HCC) has cleared 36 candidates to run in the country's upcoming presidential elections after receiving nomination papers from 46 presidential hopefuls.

The HCC published the final list of candidates for the first round of the election on its website.

The main candidates running in the 7 November poll is President Hery Rajaonarimampianina, and other former presidents, including Andry Rajoelina, Marc Ravalomanana, and Didier Ratsiraka.

The elections have been controversial as President Rajaonarimampianina earlier this year introduced a new law which barred key opposition candidate Mr Ravalomanana from running.

The law was scrapped after street protests and in a bid to avert a political crisis, the constitutional court ordered the president to form a government of national unity and hold elections.

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An anti-government protest in Antananarivo, Madagascar - June 2018
AFP
Tensions are high on the island amid anti-government protests

Madagascar's recently appointed Prime Minister, Christian Ntsay, says presidential elections will be held on 7 November this year, with a second round, if needed, on 19 December.

This is despite the fact that a constitutional court had earlier ruled that the polls should be held by October.

The elections have been controversial as President Hery Rajaonarimampianina earlier this year introduced a new law which barred key opposition candidate Marc Ravalomanana from running.

After street protests turned violent, the law was scrapped and in a bid to avert a political crisis, the constitutional court ordered the president to form a government of national unity and hold elections.

Madagascar leader announces new government

Hery Rajaonarimampianina
AFP
The constitutional court had ordered President Hery Rajaonarimampianina to appoint a new prime minister

Madagascar's president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, says a consensus government has now been appointed after negotiations. He said its main goal is to organise elections.

Last month, Madagascar's constitutional court ordered the president to appoint a new Prime Minister who would form a cabinet made up of politicians from all parties.

This followed a political deadlock and street protests over attempts to block an opposition presidential candidate and impeach the president.

The appointment of 30 new ministers has reduced tension, although the elections are likely to test the country's stability.

'Elections my priority,' says Madagascar's new PM

Mdagascar"s President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (L) shakes hands with outgoing Madagascar"s Prime Minister Olivier Mahafaly (R) during a press conference, after accepting his resignation on June 4, 2018,
AFP
President Hery Rajaonarimampianina (left) accepted Olivier Mahafaly resignation as prime minister on Monday

Madagascar's new "consensus" prime minister has said his priority will be to organise a presidential election which will be "acceptable to all".

Christian Ntsay, who was appointed on Monday by President Hery Rajaonarimampianin, was sworn in amid rising tensions over electoral reforms in the island nation.

The president passed a controversial new law - since overturned - which would have prevented former President Marc Ravalomanana standing in the next election.

As a result, the opposition organised a series of protests.

Meanwhile, the defence minister said if a solution could not be found, the military would intervene.

Mr Ntsay is the leader chosen after the country's Constitutional Court ordered the president to form a new government with a prime minister supported by all political parties.

His predecessor, Olivier Mahafaly, resigned on Monday.

As well as promising to focus on the elections, news agency AFP reports Mr Ntsay listing his other priorities as peace, security and the fight against corruption.

The court has called for the elections to be completed during the dry season, which ends in October.

Since gaining independence from France in 1960, the Indian Ocean nation has experienced repeated political instability, including coups, unrest and disputed elections.