Monday, 24 September 2007

Low voter turnout in parliamentary elections

7.5 million Malagasy were called to vote in the country's general elections on Sunday. Léa needed a little convincing, but agreed to take me to vote at her local school. At three o'clock in the afternoon the place was not exactly packed, but Jean Rakotobe, the man in charge of this polling station, said that many people would come out to vote after church service. Unfortunately, they went straight home.

Only one in five eligible voters went to the polls in Tana and turnout was as low as 10 per cent in other parts of the country. Many people I spoke to said they wouldn't vote, because they distrust politicians - and because they've never seen an impact or a change in their professional or private lives.

This morning's Madagascar Express said the low participation rate "threatens to erode the legitimacy of the deputies." But maybe these deputies simply don't care.
Preliminary results showed the ruling TIM - Tiako i Madagasikara (which means I love Madagascar) of President Marc Ravalomanana (the yogurt baron) poised to hold onto its majority in the assembly. But vote counting is still underway - I've tried to find out when the official results will be published, I've heard eveything from 4-5 days, to 2 weeks to a month. So, we'll see if we get the results before I leave on Friday...


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