Friday, November 12, 2010

The Referendum

The interim government in Madagascar is organizing a constitutional referendum next week. I believe this is a step in the right direction, as it had previously been postponed 'indefinitely' for lack of a constitutional draft.

The main reason for the referendum is a proposal to decrease the official age to become president of the country from 50 to 35 years. This is so that the current interim president, former mayor and DJ in his mid-thirties, can be elected in next year's election. Kind of funny, don't you think?

What is less funny is that the prelude to the referendum always seems to have go together with riots. Indeed, there are demonstrations and troubles in Tana - though it's still on a small scale.
We get messages through the French Embassy to avoid certain areas down-town.

It causes major traffic jams in a city that is already hyperly jammed. This week it took me an hour-and-twenty minutes to get to work. I can now join the ranks of the millions of Dutch people who spend more than 50 minutes per day to travel to work. I just read this week that the Dutch officially have the longest commuting times in Europe (OESO -2010)!!

Also, the Americans advise us to stock up on milk and cooking oil. Internationally however, nobody seems to know or care, and googling 'riots' and 'Madagascar' only brings up pages from 2009 and 2002. So I take it it's not that serious; well, who knows? Should I run to the supermarket and load my cart with milk?

I don't know. I'm thinking...if we're out of milk, we'll drink something else. Beer for example :-). Beer never runs out in a country. Because that will be cause of serious rioting! 

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