Tuesday, October 22, 2013

How to capture the hearts (and votes) of 7 800 000 voters

The 2013 Madagascar elections have nothing in common with anything I have seen so far.  Of course, 33 candidates is an outraguous fact in itself, but it does not stop there.

The closest thing to this that I have wittnessed in my life, was in Trinidad and Tobago. There, once a year, there is excitement in the air. Masses of people, dancing on the street behind big trucks, with dito speakers Popular artists fill up stadiums, people drink rum, dance, jump and wave their flags. I too participated, in my red feathery bikini dancing two days non-stop in the parade behind a blasting truck.

T-shirts and songs
In Madagascar voting is not so obvious. The are no political parties. No election manifestos. No ideology, no left- or right-, or center, no Republicans or Democrates. It's hard to make an informed choice if you can not compare programs. So how can a candidate capture a voter's attention? With T-shirts. Many t-shirts. And songs. One candidate is called Sylvain. His slogan is "Sylvain sur vingt" (quite funny). His song is brilliant: Bye Bye unemployment, bye bye famin, bye bye disease.  To me, half of the songs sounds like straight from church, the others like Caribbean carnival hits. Some candidates even dress like calypso artists.

Dadafara fans place posters

Win a house!
It does not stop there. There are tombolas (first price: a house, second price: one month salary).Oh and goodies and give-aways in all sizes and shapes. From hats to helicopters. It is one big carnival parade.

So who is going to win this thing? The one with his face on most places in town? The most catchy song? Or the one that has most money and goodies to distribute? What do you think?

Blasting Campaign bus from Sarah Georget


  1. There are political parties in Madagascar since its independance in 1960. Here are the major parties:
    1) PDS (the Social Democrat Party); this is the party of the 1st Malagasy President, Philibert Tsiranana
    2) AREMA, the party of Didier Ratsiraka since he took power in 1975;
    MFM, the party of Manandafy Rakotonirina (more Marxim Leninism and Utopian) was the opposition party back then
    3) Hery Velona Rasalama, the party of Zafy Albert (president 1993-1996) founded during the 1991 political crisis
    4) AVI = Asa Vita no Ifampitsarana, the party of Norbert Lala Ratsirahonana, founded in 1996.
    5) TIM (Tiako I Madagasikara), formerly TIA (Tiako I Arivo, Arivo= short of Antananarivo, when Marc Ravalomanana ran for the mayor of Antananarivo), the national party of Ravalomanana before the December 16th, 2001 presidential election
    6) TGV =Tanora Gasy Vonona, the party of Andry Rajoelina

    A Malagasy Reader!

  2. The funniest so far I found is this presidential candidate (I don't know his name). The song goes "Mihetsiketsika ny Foza! Pelipelika ny Foza"
    http://youtu.be/oUfDBOu60L0 (17 sec)
    It definitely trumped Barack Obama's dance move
    http://youtu.be/IUcgH1lbNxI (1mn 26 sec)

    A Malagasy Reader!

  3. I can't wait for 2013 to be over (the 2nd round of the presidential election is December 20th) to check whether pastor Mailhol is a true prophet from God or a false prophet.
    He claimed (according to his prophecy) that he would be crowned as the president of Madagascar this year 2013.
    1) a blogpost by an expat named Adam
    2) pastor Mailhol's church's blog (in Malagasy. They deleted their English version, I don't know why)

    A Malagasy Reader!