The head of Madagascar’s lower house of parliament on Thursday (Nov. 09) called for the suspension of the November 16 presidential elections.
The mediation group headed by the official concluded the current situation in the country did not allow for a free and credible vote.
The group including the organization that bring together Madagascar’s four biggest Christian churches spoke to the press in Antananarivo.
“The electoral process must comply with international standards,” Lower House speaker Christine Razanamahasoa said.
“This is not the case at the moment with the election that we are trying to organise on November 16. We are strongly calling for the electoral process to be suspended.”
She said this was to ensure “peace” and “harmony” in the country, where political tensions have been running high in the run-up to the vote, which was already postponed by a week.
The group has also recommended the suspension of the electoral campaign and Early Thursday, some 60 Madagascan civil society organisations and trade unions have called for the “cancellation” of the first round vote, warning of an “even harder crisis” if the election were to go ahead.
Eleven out of 13 opposition candidates have led near daily, unauthorised marches in Antananarivo, for more than a month, protesting at what they have called an “institutional coup” that favours the incumbent.
Numerous people were injured on Wednesday as police dispersed yet another protest.
Earlier this week, a presidential candidate was detained at another rally.
Madagascar’s laws do not provide for the “suspension” of a vote. Any such decision would require government approval.
A spokeswoman for the outgoing president called the request a “far-fetched idea”.
Voters in Madagascar were initially due to head to the polls on November 9, but the top court in October ordered that elections be postponed after another presidential candidate was injured during a demonstration.
The date for a potential second round on December 20 was kept unchanged.