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Rajoelina warns polls may not go ahead

23 May 2013, 07:23

Antananarivo - Madagascar strongman Andry Rajoelina said on Wednesday that presidential elections scheduled for July - in which he is controversially running - will probably not be held because international donors have pulled the plug on funding.

"The reality is that the international community took the decision to suspend funding," he told reporters, questioning if the July 24 poll would go ahead.

The African Union and international community are unhappy with the candidacy of Rajoelina, who seized power in 2009, and that of two rivals in the presidential vote.

"Personally I strongly doubt that given the pace things are going today... I ask myself if the elections will still be held on July 24?" said Rajoelina.

He was speaking after a meeting to discuss the contentious candidacies that was called by security forces, the electoral commission and national reconciliation bodies.

The halting of European Union funds was raised by the president of the electoral commission last week, but the three candidates have refused to pull out of the vote.

African political blocs have come out strongly against Rajoelina throwing his hat into the ring along with Lalao Ravalomanana, wife of the leader he ousted, and another ex-president Didier Ratsiraka.

Joining the criticism, the UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Monday backed the calls by the African Union and the Southern African Development Community for the trio to withdraw.

The groups have slammed the decision by Madagascar's electoral court to accept their nominations.

This was despite Rajoelina registering after the deadline and the other two having not lived in Madagascar for the past six months as the election law demands.

If the funding for the poll was withdrawn, Rajoelina said the country had $24.5m from the sale of a presidential aircraft that "could finance the elections if necessary".

The former mayor reneged on an earlier vow not to run and is meant to resign on Friday, 60 days before the vote, but has not confirmed he will do so.




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