AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat

AU Deploys Joint Mission to Observe Madagascar’s Presidential Election

ADDIS ABABA – The African Union says it has deployed an Election Observation Mission to Madagascar ahead of the Presidential poll on Thursday

The mission – deployed jointly with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) – arrived in Antananarivo on Friday.

Union says the AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat approved the deployment at the request of the government of Madagascar.

Catherine Samba-Panza née Souga, former Transitional President of the Central African Republic, is leading the mission together with Mauritius’ Patrice Eugene Cure, a Member of the COMESA Committee of Elders.

The team of 70 short-term observers drawn from thirty-five AU member countries will stay in Madagascar until Nov to observe and report on the conduct of the election,

Their “assessment shall focus on the regularity of the electoral process, its transparency, and credibility,” the African Union says.

Madagascar’s president Andry Rajoelina will seek re-election in the face of weeks of protests by opposition groups who say he is ineligible to run and the vote should be delayed, according to a Reuters report.

The report says opposition parties claim Rajoelina should be prevented from running because he acquired French nationality in 2014 – which they say automatically revokes his Malagasy citizenship. The incumbent says the constitution does not require the head of state to exclusively hold Malagasy nationality.

Rajoelina, who ascended to power in a 2009 coup, is now running against a dozen of candidates including two ex-presidents Marc Ravalomanana and Hery Rajaonarimampianina.