Presidential candidates in Madagascar call for election boycott as political crisis deepens

© Rijasolo, AFP

Six prominent presidential candidates in Madagascar told AFP on Monday they plan to boycott this week’s elections, worsening a political crisis engulfing the country.

The six, who are part of a larger grouping of opposition candidates holding almost daily protests for weeks, said they will not take part in Thursday’s vote and will urge their supporters not to cast their ballot.

“We will call (on people) not to go and vote,” said presidential hopeful Marc Ravalomanana, 73, one of two former presidents to join calls for a boycott.

The Indian Ocean island nation has been shaken by a fierce battle between President Andry Rajoelina, who is running for re-election, and most opposition leaders.

Almost all the 12 opposition candidates in the running have led near daily, unauthorised marches in Antananarivo, for more than a month, protesting at what they have called an “institutional coup” that favours the incumbent.

Rajoelina “is lying to himself and he knows it,” he said.

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