Today, voters in Madagascar will elect a president in a runoff vote between Marc Ravalomanana and the man who overthrew him in a coup in 2009, Andry Rajoelina.
With Mr Ravalomanana securing 35.4% of the first-round vote and Mr Rajoelina earning 39.2%, both candidates have appealed to voters in different ways. 44-year old Rajoelina has pitched himself as a young leader ready to move Madagascar in a more progressive direction—promising a range of schemes ranging from solar panels for energy to helicopters to combat banditry. Meanwhile, the 69-year old Mr Ravalomanana claims that, unlike his opponent, he is experienced and opposes the use of violence to achieve political results—an appeal that will resonate with those wishing political stability.
The latter message is likely to win out today, and Mr Ravalomanana is expected to emerge victorious. Both candidates have pledged to accept the second round voting results, but a very close vote could end up plunging the country into a political chaos similar to that of 2009 if one of the candidates goes back on his word and does not accept the results.
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Nick is the Director of the Daily Brief and a contributing Senior Analyst to it. An attorney, his areas of expertise include international law, international and domestic criminal law, security affairs in Europe and the Middle East, and human rights.