Potential Hot Spots: February 23, 2002


The situation in Madagascar is deteriorating. On February 22 Madagascars President Didier Ratsiraka declared a national state of emergency. He assumed near-dictatorial powers. The emergency is supposed to last three months. Why? Opposition leader Marc Ravalomanana had just declared himself president (and had taken the presidential oath). In Decembers presidential election, Ratsiraka and Ravalomanana officially ended up in a run-off. Ravalomanana said the vote count was false and that he had won. (Ravalomanana claims he got 52 percent of the vote. The official count says he got 46 percent and Ratsiraka 40 percent.) A run off election is scheduled for March 24. Over a hundred thousand Ravalomanana supporters demonstrated on the 25th, leaving at least two dead. Some members of the armed forces have voiced support for Ravalomanana, who has begun to form a government. Nevertheless, negotiations continue with Ratsiraka supporters. 


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