June 6, 2013 / 1:06 PM / in 5 years

Madagascar postpones presidential election again

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Madagascar postponed a presidential election, the government said on Thursday, further delaying a vote that the president promised to hold shortly after seizing power in 2009.

Madagascar's President Andry Rajoelina (L) sits next to his wife Mialy during the ANC's centenary celebration in Bloemfontein January 8, 2012. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko

The decision to put the vote back a month to August 23 came after the electoral commission said it could not hold the ballot because foreign donors had suspended financing due to President Andry Rajoelina’s volte-face on a promise not to run.

Rajoelina and Marc Ravalomanana, the man he unseated from power, both bowed to regional pressure in January and agreed not to run in the election. The African Union said it would not recognise either as president if they won.

But Rajoelina said in May the deal was broken when Ravalomanana’s wife, Lalao, said she would run.

Ravalomanana’s allies said they wanted the election to go ahead as scheduled.

“But some people always find a way to upset the election calendar in order to prolong the situation for their own benefit,” said Senate Vice President Hanitra Razafimanantsoa, a Ravalomanana supporter.

She did not say whether Lalao Ravalomanana should drop her plan to run for president.

Madagascar’s finance minister told Reuters last month that prolonged political uncertainty risked slowing the Indian Ocean island’s economic recovery from the 2009 turmoil that deterred foreign investors and tourists.

Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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