Madagascar Presidential Candidates Face African Union Sanctions

The African Union said it may impose sanctions on three presidential candidates in Madagascar if they don’t adhere to demands by the international community to pull out of the race by the end of the month.

The Southern African Development Community and the Africa Union have asked President Andry Rajoelina, Lalao Ravalomanana, former president Marc Ravalomanana’s wife, and ex-president Didier Ratsiraka to withdraw from the vote set for Aug. 23.

The AU and its partners will “immediately” begin compiling a list of individuals who may face travel bans and asset freezes, Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told reporters today in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

“We are still at the moment hopeful that by the end of this month the candidates will announce their withdrawal,” he said.

Madagascar, the world’s second-largest producer of vanilla and cloves, has been ruled by Rajoelina since 2009, when he removed Ravalomanana from power with the help of the Indian Ocean island nation’s army.

In a deal brokered by SADC in January, both Rajoelina and Ravalomanana agreed to not compete in this year’s election to help restore political stability. Rajoelina reversed that decision in May after Lalao Ravalomanana announced she planned to run for the presidency.

Madagascar’s $10 billion economy is forecast to grow 2.6 percent this year from 1.9 percent in 2012, according to International Monetary Fund data. That compares with an average of 5.6 percent expansion for all of sub-Saharan Africa.

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