Madagascar votes in milestone municipal election

Jul 31, 2015

A Malagasy citizen casts her vote during the country's local and municipal elections. Photo: UNDP Madagascar

Voters today headed to the polls in Madagascar to elect mayors and local officials. The election was one of the final steps of a Southern African Development Community (SADC)-brokered roadmap to end the crisis and consolidate the country’s young democracy.
Raymond woke up at 4 a.m. to vote and insists on how important it is to participate in the life of his country and building its future collectively. He was the first to perform his civic duty at a polling center on the outskirts of the Malagasy capital, Antananarivo. "These elections represent for me a path to development. My country needs a real change," he adds.

Andrianaivo, who lives on the coastal Toamasina region, also went to the polls today. She says she understood the crucial role of the mayors and was able to learn how to use the single ballot and how to vote.

As part of preparations for local and municipal elections, UNDP and the Independent National Electoral Commission for the Transition (CENI-T) organized workshops and awareness campaigns throughout the country to encourage voters to participate in the ballot.

UNDP distributed 1.2 million pamphlets. To promote the participation of women in the electoral process, UNDP also targeted women as candidates and voters. This time around, women represented around 46 percent of voters on the electoral list but only 6 percent of the candidates.
UNDP managed a US$ 4 million basket fund for the communal and municipal elections. With financial contributions from Norway, Japan and SADC, the agency provided technical and logistical support to the CENI-T, helping the Commission to produce and package sensitive materials, including ballots and sealed envelopes.
The electoral programme also supported the CENI-T in updating and consolidating the electoral register. UNDP helped in the computer registration of candidates and its VSAT system was reactivated for the transmission of results through a fast and secure data transfer.
"The stakes in these elections are multiple. Internationally, they are one of the last stages of the SADC roadmap to end Madagascar's crisis and at the national level, they will help to consolidate the fledgling democracy," said Fatma Samoura, Representative UNDP Resident Representative in Madagascar.

The elections will "enable the Malagasy people to take control of their own destiny through effective decentralization and community governance.”

She added that these elections will provide an opportunity for the people of Madagascar to appoint representatives of the Senate but also the High Court of Justice and the Council for Human Rights.
Around 800 mediators from civil society organizations were trained and dispatched to the most sensitive municipalities. They will remain active during the post-election period during which the results will be announced.

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