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Introduction: Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896 but regained independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA achieved a second term following a...

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Government: The principal institutions of the Republic of Madagascar are a presidency, a parliament, a prime ministry and cabinet, and an independent judiciary. The president is elected by direct universal suffrage for a 5-year term, renewable twice. The last presidential election was held on December 3, 2006. There is currently no legitimate sitting president or government in Madagascar. The following ...

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International Relations: The political crisis of 2009 has blighted Madagascar's links with other African countries. It has been suspended from the Africa Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Madagascar is a founder member of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and hosted the third IOC Summit in Antananarivo on 22 July 2005, and the Summit of the Organisation of Francophone Countries (OIF) in November 2005. Madagascar was due to host the AU Summit in July 2009, but its suspension from the AU resulted in the Summit being held in Libya instead.

Malagasy relations with the US and EU have become strained as a result of the ...

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The ruins of fortifications built by Arab traders as far back as the ninth century underscore Madagascar's historical role as a destination for travelers from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Not until the beginning of the sixteenth century, however, did European ships flying Portuguese, Dutch, English, and French flags explore Madagascar's shoreline. Beginning in 1643, several French ...

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Area Handbook Series
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