Detailed Madagascar Political Crisis Timeline

Below is a rough timeline of events leading up to the current political crisis. Click on the most current date for a more detailed explanation of what’s going on this week.

Short version | Long version


January 21: In light his decision to not run in 2013, Rajoelina announces in Toamasina that he will run for president in 2018. 

January 15: Rajoelina announces he will not run in presidential elections in May but calls for legislative elections to precede prudential elections. 

January 11: Rajoelina travels to Dar-es-Salam again to meet with the SADC Troika. 


December 18: Rajoelina travels to France [in lieu of to Dar-es-Salam] to meet with the French foreign minister and other government officials. 

December 17: Rajoelina agrees to a “final” round of talks before the end of the year to be mediated by the Tanzanian president. 

December 14-15: Rajoelina meets with the Tanzanian president in Dar-es-Salam. 

December 12: Ravalomanana announces that he will comply with the SADC resolution and not run in presidential elections. 

December 10: After meeting in Dar-es-Salam, the SADC resolves that neither Rajoelina nor Ravalomanana should participate in elections. 

December 7: Rajoelina declines an invitation to meet the SADC troika and Ravalomanana in Dar-es-Salam claiming he had not been formally invited in time and instead sends someone to represent him. 

October 16: A SADC military delegation arrives in Madagascar to evaluate whether or not conditions exist suitable to the return of Ravalomanana. 

October 15: Dr. Leonard Simao of the SADC travelled to Madagascar to evaluate the implementation of the Road Map and conditions for the return of Ravalomanana. 

September 8: Two journalists from Free FM are given refuge in the South African Embassy. 

August 18: SADC leaders consider an idea where neither Rajoelina nor Ravalomanana take part in elections. 

August 10: SADC leaders fly to Madagascar to meet political leaders. 

August 9: Rajoelina and Ravalomanana again hold unsuccessful talks in Seychelles. 

August 1: Presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 8 and July 3 respectively. 

July 28: Ravalomanana’s wife returns to Madagascar but is immediately expelled. 

July 25-26: Rajoelina and Ravalomanana meet in Seychelles and agree to meet again in a few days. 

July 24: Free FM radio suspends broadcasts due to repeated harassment by government security forces. Free FM had previously aired a communiqué by mutineers announcing the “creation of a military directorate.” 

 July 22: There is a mutiny at the Ivato military base housing Intervention Forces Regiment. Radio Free FM broadcasts  

July 17: Ravalomanana is served a summons in South Africa in a lawsuit filed by the February 7, 2009 survivors. 

July 11: Draft legislation bars criminals from standing in elections and would technically prevent Ravalomanana from standing in future elections. 

June 16: Rajoelina and Ravalomanana agree to meet and it is suggested the date be scheduled for after the June 26 independence celebrations. 

June 4: SADC orders mediator Juaquim Chissano to convene a meeting between Rajoelina and Ravalomanana. 

May 31: The National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa announces it will investigate Ravalomanana for crimes against humanity relating to the February 7, 2009 massacre in Antaninarenina square. 

May 19: A protest of 3,000 to 5,000 people led by radio Free FM was dispersed with tear gas and arrests. 

May 18: UN experts asses election needs and Rajoelina mentions making a political accord as with Ravalomanana as part of reconciliation efforts but is vague on specific terms of amnesty. 

April 4: Amnesty legislation specifies exceptions for murderers allowing a continued block of Ravalomanana’s return. 

 March 19: A former judge on the UN’s highest court went on trial in Madagascar Monday on charges of complicity in a coup plot during the 2010 constitutional referendum. 

February 29: The deadline for new amnesty laws passes without any action. 

February 20: Central bank employees protest after the government replaced the bank governor with a senior bank official without notifying the bank’s board. 

February 12: Southern Africa leaders emphasize a Road Map deadline to pass new amnesty legislation. 

January 26: Rajoelina comes under renewed pressure from international mediators to allow Ravalomanana’s return. 

January 24: Lawmakers from Ravalomanana’s camp, including his top aide and leader of the Transitional Congress, boycott the parliament on opening day. 

January 21: Ravalomanana’s plane is turned back to Johannesburg. 

January 17: Opposition supporters are dispersed with tear gas while being addressed by opposition leader Albert Zafy. 


November 24: Exiled leader Didier Ratsiraka returns to Madagascar after nine years. 

November 22: Opposition leaders are split on the new “consensus” government and some boycott the ceremony. 

November 21: A new government is named four days past the Road Map deadline. Ravalomanana’s camp rejects the new government because the PM didn’t come from a different party than Rajoelina as required by the Road Map. 

November 2: Omer Beriziky is appointed as the new prime minister. 

October 18: Madagascar government resigns in line with road map. 

September 19: Days after signing the Road Map, Rajoelina continues to insist that Ravalomanana be arrested upon his return. 

September 17: The Road Map is signed by all but one party including that of Rajoelina and Ravalomanana. The signed Road Map requires that exiled leaders be allowed to return before elections to be held one year later.

September 16: A SADC delegation travels to Antananarivo and urges leaders to sign the Road Map and allow Ravalomanana to return. 

July 12: The African Union approves the Road Map with the recent SADC amendments and exhorts Rajoelina to unconditionally allow the return of exiled political actors. 

June 28: Andry rejects calls from SADC heads of state to allow Ravalomanana to return unconditionally and asserts that he must submit to charges previously leveled against him in his absence. Ravalomanana says he will not sign the Road Map unless he is allowed to return. 

June 14: Madagascar’s army and police say they are opposed to former ruler Ravalomanana’s Return. 

July 12: The African Union approves the Road Map with the recent SADC amendments and exhorts Rajoelina to unconditionally allow the return of exiled political actors.

June 21: SADC publishes a single amendment dictating the return of Ravalomanana to participate in political processes but only after the Transitional regime has created favorable circumstances for such a return, which is also prescribed for in the amendment. See commentary here.

June 11-12: SADC leaders approve Road Map pending unspecified amendments and urge Andry Rajoelina to allow exiled political leaders to return. Andry rebuffs SADC and pursues original Road Map drafted in Ivato by Chissano.

June 10: The EU reasserts its sanctions against the current de facto regime.

June 9: Ravalomanana claims that comments made at Gaborone mention his return and states that he will sign the Road Map if the office of Prime Minister falls to his camp to fill.

June 6­-7: SADC convenes a meeting to consult with eleven political parties in Gaborone to regarding the crisis and the proposed Road Map. Contrary to the expectations of some, the meeting did not result in the three main oppositions groups signing the Road Map, although rumors circulated that such a signing might happen in Madagascar upon return of the exiled opposition leaders.

May 23: Rajoelina refuses to accept any possible amendments to potentially be presented at the meeting in Gaborone.

May 20: The SADC summit met and decided that a meeting should be held at which all the contending political forces in Madagascar should be present, plus the SADC mediator (former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano), the current SADC chairperson (Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba) , and the chairperson of the SADC troika on politics, defence and security cooperation (Zambian President Rupiah Banda).The meeting was later scheduled for June 6-7 to be held in Gaborone, Batswana and was deemed the “last chance for Madagascar mediation efforts.” | Madagascar Tribune

May 18: Zafy Albert, head of one of the three main opposition groups and the only one of the three opposition leaders not in exile, led protests in front of the senate building in Anosy days before the SADC meeting. Seven are arrested but protests continue through the weekend.

April: Both sides travel extensively to lobby the various countries that make up the SADC as well as others in the EU and North Africa.

March 31: SADC troika convenes one-day summit in Livingstone to discuss Zimbabwe and Madagascar crises. The troika neither condemned nor condoned the Road Map but called for a separate extraordinary summit to discuss both countries’ situations further.

March 20: Ravalomanana calls on South Africa to increase efforts to resolve the political crisis.

March 16: Rajoelina reappoints Camille Vital as Prime Minister of new transitional government. One opposition group rejected the move.

March 10: Prime Minister Camille Vital and government resign in accordance with the road map signed the day before.

March 9: Eight major political parties sign the road map but the three main opposition parties do not.

March 4: Rajoelina survives a roadside bomb attempt on his life.

March 3: Legislative and presidential elections are scheduled to happen simultaneously in September.

February 19: Ravalomanana is blocked from returning to Madagascar.

February 19: Joaquim Chissano, head of SADC mediation delegation to Madagascar, presents a revised Road Map based on that previously presented by Leonardo Simao.

February 16: Amidst anticipation of another government reshuffle in the wake of the new road map presented by the SADC delegation and in preparation for upcoming elections, Ravalomanana announces his eminent return to the island planned for February 19.

February 9: Three leading members of Madagascar’s opposition were found guilty of participating in a banned protest held before a Nov. 17 referendum.

January 31: SADC delegation presents a road map for ending the political crisis, which spells out some key aspects of the transition.

According to the road map, the transitional government of national unity will be in charge of routine business of the country and will create, in cooperation with the international community, the conditions conducive to free, fair and credible elections.

The transitional government should also refrain from making long-term commitments which are prerogatives of the government to be formed after the elections. — The road map also stipulated that the transitional president, the consensus prime minister and the entire government must remain neutral throughout the transition, especially during the election period. | Madagascar Tribune | Radio Netherlands Worldwide | Crisis Group

January: Lead mediator, Dr. Leonardo Simao completes a month long mission to Madagascar on behalf of the SADC delegation.


December 6: Madagascar’s constitutional court announced referendum results with 75% voting yes at a turnout of 52%.

November 20: Security forces enter military base where rebel soldiers were holed up. They then give themselves up in an operation that ended quickly.

November 17: Dissident soldiers attempt a coup on the same day. They declared that all government institutions were suspended and that a military council was in charge.
Terra Daily | | Reuters

November 17: Madagascar holds a referendum to accept or reject a new constitution that calls for keeping Rajoelina in power indefinitely.

November 10: Twenty-one demonstrators are arrested after protests relating to upcoming constitutional referendum to be held November 17.

September 13: About 4,000 civil society members and politicians gathered outside the capital, Antananarivo, for a week-long conference on an interim government, a new constitution, elections and national reconciliation.

August 28: A Madagascar court sentenced deposed leader Marc Ravalomanana in absentia to forced labour for the deaths of dozens of protesters during a march on the presidential palace last year.

August 14: Referendum scheduled for November 17. Presidential elections also postponed until May 4, 2011.

June 29: Constitutional referendum postponed “indefinitely.”

May 20: Security forces clash with a dissident military faction and protestors from the HMF religiously based opposition group that had been invited to the camp for a demonstration by the dissidents before the clash. An FJKM pastor was fatally shot and two others were arrested in conjunction with the incident. |

May 13: Rajoelina announces that he won’t run in presidential elections to be held in November. A constitutional referendum will precede elections on August 12 followed soon after by legislative elections on September 30.

April 30: Two days of talks stall over amnesty for Ravalomanana and a timetable for elections and are scheduled to resume two weeks later.

April 21: Protagonists in Madagascar’s political crisis have agreed to attend talks in South Africa on April 28.

April 19: Security forces in Madagascar arrested 19 people including officers claiming that they were planning a coup designed to divide the military.

April 12: The army gives Rajoelina until the end of the month to present a Road Map for ending the crisis.

March 20: Rajoelina retracts Moputo concessions and vows to pursue Ravalomanana for crimes committed in 2009.

March 17: AU enacts sanctions on Madagascar.

February 19: AU gives Rajoelina until March 16, or face targeted sanctions.

February 17: Rajoelina pushes parliamentary election back to May, says they will be transparent and democratic.

February 12: Vice prime minister Ny Hasina Andriamanjato resigns in a sign of growing divisions within the government.

January 22: Rajoelina snubs the African Union’s top diplomat, again rejecting calls for consensus government.


December 23: U.S. President Barack Obama terminates trade benefits for Madagascar.

December 22: Security forces fire teargas at opposition leaders.

December 20: Rajoelina appoints army Colonel Vital Albert Camille as new prime minister.

December 18: Opposition leaders allowed to return. Rajoelina fires consensus prime minister. Opposition leaders say they will set up unity government within days.

December 17: Rajoelina says Madagascar to hold parliamentary vote on March 20.

December 12: Opposition leaders try to return via South Africa but are held up at Johannesburg airport.

December 9: Rajoelina rejects opposition call to join unity government.

December 8: Ravalomanana, Ratsiraka and Zafy agree to press ahead with the formation of a unity government. Rajoelina blocks their return to Madagascar.

December 3: Opposition leaders go to Mozambique for more talks with lead mediator Joaquim Chissano. Rajoelina boycotts them.

December 2: Opposition accuses Rajoelina of stalling talks.

November 7: An extension to the Maputo deal is signed in Addis Ababa. Rajoelina remains president but is flanked by two co-presidents. There are instant disputes over the division of executive power. The African Union suspension remains.

October 11: Rajoelina appoints Eugene Mangalaza as a consensus prime minister.

October 6: Rajoelina bows to international pressure and sacks Roindefo. Leaders agree on certain key posts.

September 26: Rajoelina barred by African nations from addressing the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

September 4: Rajoelina unilaterally names Monja Roindefo as prime minister. Days later Roindefo forms a government which African nations are quick to reject.

August 28: A second round of talks in Maputo end without agreement on who should be prime minister and hold other key cabinet posts.

August 9: Island’s power-brokers sign initial power-sharing deal in Mozambique’s capital Maputo.

July 20: Spate of failed bomb-attacks across Antananarivo.

July 6: EU says it is unhappy with progress on restoring constitutional order in Madagascar. Aid remains frozen.

June 3: Ravalomanana sentenced in absentia to four years in jail for abuse of office.

May 8: IMF freezes Madagascar aid.

-May 2009 to February 2010 taken from Reuters

March 30: The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) suspend Madagascar’s membership on the 15-member body and calls on Rajoelina to vacate the presidency.

March 28: At least 34 people are injured during a sixth day of protests by Ravalomanana’s supporters.

March 21: Rajoelina is formally installed as president of Madagascar.

March 20: The African Union suspends Madagascar and says it has six months to call an election. The United States says it is moving to suspend all non-humanitarian assistance to Madagascar.

March 19: Mozambique, Angola and Swaziland, which make up the defence, political and security troika of the southern African bloc (Sadc), which includes Madagascar, refuse to recognise the new leader.

Norway, which gives at least $14 million a year in aid, says it has frozen funding.

March 18: The military in turn, hands power to Rajoelina. After becoming leader in an army-backed overthrow of the president, he now heads a transitional government, and pledges to hold elections within two years.

Madagascar’s constitutional court issues a statement endorsing the takeover.

March 17: Ravalomanana announces through a presidential spokesman that he has handed over control of the country to Hyppolite Ramaroson, a navy admiral and the most senior military official. [This is rumored to have happened at the point of a gun.]

March 16: Rajoelina calls on the security forces to arrest Ravalomanana. Madagascan troops seize the presidential palace compound and central bank in capital Antananarivo, and impose a curfew.

The president vows to fight to the death and appeals to the UN and southern African countries for military support.

March 15: Ravalomanana offers to hold a referendum to resolve the standoff between his government and opposition protesters. [This is rebuffed by Rajoelina.]

March 14: Ravalomanana denies opposition claims that he has lost control of the government. The president issues a statement saying that the opposition does not have “the power bestowed by democratic elections” to take control.

March 13: Dissident soldiers claim to be deploying tanks in Antananarivo to intercept “mercenaries”.

March 11: General Rasolofomahandry is sacked as army chief and replaced by Andre Andriarijaona after “negotiations” among senior military officers.

March 10: General Edmond Rasolofomahandry, Madagascar’s army chief, issues a 72-hour ultimatum for the feuding political leaders to resolve their disputes or face military intervention.

March 8: Around 70 soldiers mutiny at a large military camp outside the Madagascan capital, saying they will defy government orders to repress civilians. The government says it is an internal army dispute.

March 6: At least two people die in clashes between opposition groups and police in Antananarivo amid government crackdown on supporters of Rajoelina.

February 28: Rajoelina rallies 2,000 opposition supporters in Antananarivo.

February 21: President Ravalomanana meets Rajoelina to try to resolve crisis, but no apparent progress made.

February 20: Madagascan security forces retake control of four key government ministries from opposition activists after they were seized a day earlier.

February 16: Police fire warning shots to disperse up to 10,000 supporters of Rajoelina protesting against the government in the capital.

February 14: Madagascar’s president and opposition leader hold rival rallies in Antananarivo, roughly 1km apart, without major incident.

February 7: At least 28 people are killed and hundreds injured when police open fire on a protest in Antananarivo [after Rajoelina calls on the crowd to march on the presidential palace]. Rajoelina accuses the government of murdering civilians.

February 3: The Madagascan government fires Rajoelina from his position as the mayor of Antananarivo.

February 1: The African Union (AU) says it will not support any attempt to overthrow Marc Ravalomanana, Madagascar’s president. Jean Ping, the AU head, says “any unconstitutional change of power will be condemned”.

January 31: Rajoelina proclaims himself in-charge of the country.

January 27-28: The charred remains of at least 37 people are found in a shop in Madagascar after it was burned and looted following the anti-government rally.

January 26: Violent demonstrations break out in the capital, Antananarivo. A teenager and a policeman are killed when protesters burn state-owned television and radio stations.

Rajoelina, also the mayor of the city, leads the protests, accusing the federal government of misspending funds and threatening democracy.


December 2008: Viva TV – owned by opposition leader Andry Rajoelina – is shut down by authorities after airing an interview with Didier Ratsiraka, Madagascar’s exiled former president.

December 2008 to March 2009 taken from Aljazeera

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