On Wednesday, Madagascar will vote in a presidential election that sees 35 candidates competing with the current President Hery Rajaonarimampianina. This number includes ‘three former presidents of Madagascar, ex-prime ministers, pastors and a popular musician.’

There are concerns that the election could trigger deadly violence. The political situation in Madagascar is uncertain. Potentially huge wealth from natural resources, widespread poverty, insufficient law and order, and an important tourism industry combine to make a volatile mix. Two people were killed following a protest in Antananarivo earlier this year.

The Australian authorities have warned that the ‘Avenue de l’Indépendance, Ambohijatovo, Lac Anosy, Ankatso and Analakely areas, as well as military barracks, are potential flashpoints that have been subject to outbreaks of violence in the past.’ Late last week, the US Embassy in Antananarivo advised citizens to avoid a large demonstration in the capital.

Travel advice

There are links to government travel advice below that contains further information.

  • You should avoid demonstrations, large crowds of people and public events.
  • Review your travel risk management plan, so you know what to do in an emergency.
  • Make sure you have the contact information of your travel insurance company and your local embassy stored in a secure offline location.
  • Monitor local media.
  • If possible, set aside some supplies of food and bottled water.
  • Keep your devices charged.
  • Check in with friends and family.

Official travel advice

From the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

The political situation in Madagascar has been unstable since an unconstitutional change of government in 2009. In 2014, a new president was sworn in and new government formed following democratic elections, but political tensions remain. The security situation could deteriorate rapidly without warning. In April 2018, two people were killed during an anti-government protest in the capital.

Presidential elections will be held on 7 November 2018. Political instability may impact security in the capital and the regions. Follow the instructions of local authorities and avoid any demonstrations, rallies and public gatherings in the lead up to, and during, the election period.

Demonstrations and protests can occur with little warning. They can become violent and attract a heavy response from security forces, especially in Antananarivo. The Avenue de l’Indépendance, Ambohijatovo, Lac Anosy, Ankatso and Analakely areas, as well as military barracks, are potential flashpoints that have been subject to outbreaks of violence in the past.

Small explosive devices and grenades have been found in the city. In June 2016, a grenade explosion killed two people and injured at least 50 others during celebrations to mark Independence Day in Antananarivo.

Please click here to read more.

From Canadian Government

The political environment in Madagascar is fragile. Elections are scheduled to be held between November 7 and December 19, 2018, to elect a president and the National Assembly.

A recent change in laws pertaining to the forthcoming election has caused political instability and led to demonstrations and civil unrest, which resulted in a number of deaths and injuries in April 2018. Further unrest, demonstrations and violence may occur in advance of the elections in late 2018.

Please click here to read more.

From the Government of New Zealand’s Safe Travel advice

Political instability has been ongoing in Madagascar since 2009. Despite a transition back to democracy in early 2014, the political situation remains fragile. Demonstrations and civil unrest in response to political developments could occur with little warning, particularly in the capital Antananarivo. In the past, there have been small explosions in Antananarivo linked to political tensions, some of which have killed and injured people. On 26 June 2016, a grenade attack killed two people and injured 86.

New Zealanders in Madagascar are advised to avoid all demonstrations and political gatherings, as even those intended to be peaceful have the potential to turn violent. You should adhere to any instructions and restrictions issued by the local authorities, and monitor local media for updates.

Please click here to read more.

From the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Political demonstrations in the centre of Antananarivo are ongoing. Due to the possibility of violence at these events, you should avoid all protests and demonstrations, including those taking place in the area around Independence Square (“La Place du 13 mai”) and the Town Hall. See Safety and security

Madagascar has experienced political instability since the 2009 coup d’état. There is potential for further unrest in the run-up to Presidential elections, in November and December 2018. You should avoid political demonstrations. See Political situation

Please click here to read more.

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