Week 22: Focus Madagascar

Nous devons avancer à notre rythme, nous devons avant tout avoir confiance en nous-mêmes et dans les vertus thérapeutiques de la nature. Car la nature et l’homme ne font qu’un.

Albert Rakoto Ratsimamanga

Madagascar Official name:

Amtssprache: Malagasy und Französisch

Hauptstadt Antananarivo

Staatsform: Republik

Regierungssystem: Semipräsidentielles Regierungssystem

Staatsoberhaupt:  PräsidentAndry Rajoelina (seit 19. Januar 2019)

Regierungschef:Premierminister Christian Ntsay (seit 8. Juni 2018)

Fläche 587.295 km²

Einwohnerzahl 26.262.368 (2018)

From 1500 Madagascar was made up with 20 ethnic groups with no national consciousness until some new political ideas were raised from abroad. The economy of this territory was in majority pastoral and agricultural. In the 16th the early Europeans has discovered a Muslim state in the southeastern Madagascar known as Fort Dauphin, site of a French company. The Portuguese explorers who also visited the territory especially in the southeastern discovered a group of Afro-Arabs which merged within time to form the Antemoro, the formal and only state in Madagascar with written texts.

The 1861, Madagascar experienced the influence of outsiders. Indeed, English protestants and French Roman vied for supremacy and business owners had also obtained a lot of concession.  Radama II who succeeded to Ranavalona, was overthrown by Merina’s oligarchy in 1863. Rainilaiarivony became the Prime Minister and remained in power by getting married to three queens: Rasoherina, Ranavalona II and Ranavalona III. He set new direction to the territory with a program of modernization and the adoption of Protestantism as the Malagasy religion. Ministries now have an European style and governors were in all provinces, education under the direction of Christian missions was compulsory. French started spreading its influence over Sakalva, in 1885 after the Franco-Merina war French was given a settlement at Diego-suarez and a resident at Antananarivo in 1895 french troops occupied Antananarivo. In 1890, Madagascar was over French protectorate . the Prime Minister was exiled, The queen signed a treaty recognizing French protectorate and was maintained on the throne as a figurehead.

Tperiod 1896 to 1945 was the colonial period, where French occupation really spread over the entire island conquered by Merina. The annexation of the island was the first step with French administrators being governors. French was compulsory, the island’s life had been westernized, half of the population became christianized.

In 1946, based on the constitution which created the French Union, Madagascar has become an overseas territory of French. A year later, an insurrection erupted, in eastern Madagascar. It is until 1958, through a referendum in September that Madagascar gained its autonomy with Tsiranana as the head. In 26 June 1960, Madagascar gained its independence  following six decades of French colonial rule under the President Phillibert Tsiranana.Its constitution created a state closely resembling the French system in its division of legislative and executive powers, but with a more powerful presidency.

In 1976, the Second Republic was formed with Ratsiraka who led the Republic under politics that affected French interests and later declared the Republic a Marxist republic. Due to economic difficulties, the government has to rally with French institutions such as International Monetary Funds (IMF) to bridge the economic gap. The third Republic was later formed under the lead of Zafy.

The year 2001, was the most stormy in the political area since independence. Indeed during the election which opposed Ratsiraka to Marc Ravalomanana, the latter declared himself President which led to many movements. In 2008, Ravalomanana faced a new power struggle with Rajoelina Andry, his mayor opponent, asking for the President to step down. In 2009 dozens of citizens were killed. On March 17, Ravalomanana agreed to step down and power was transferred to Rajoelina by the military leaders.This was seen as a coup from the African Union and the South African Development Community (SADC), all aids were then suspended. After a political struggle, a constitutional referendum was held in November 2010, a month later Rajoelina declared the Fourth Republic.


Five queens succeeded one another in Madagascar throughout the 19th century, until the colonial invasion in 1896. Later historical studies, and in particular the history of institutions, would have shown that queens from the nobility (andriana) reigned, but that it was their hova (commoner) prime ministers who ruled Madagascar. However, the fact that women have occupied the throne is proof that Malagasy society does not hinder women’s access to power. It should be noted, however, that the colonial period established institutionalized discrimination against women in a lasting way, since Madagascar’s institutions after independence were still largely inspired by the French model – not the one we have today, but as it was until the 1960s.