August 18, 2018 / 1:29 PM / a month ago

Madagascar president, former presidents to run in Nov. 7 vote

ANTANANARIVO (Reuters) - Incumbent Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina and his political rival, former president Marc Ravalomanana, will vie for the post at an election scheduled for November, part of a move aimed at defusing a political crisis on the Indian Ocean island.

FILE PHOTO: Madagascar President Hery Rajaonarimampianina meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping (not pictured) at the Great Hall of the People on March 27, 2017 in Beijing, China. REUTERS/Lintao Zhang/Pool

Rajaonarimampianina’s agent submitted his application to the High Constitutional Court on Friday afternoon, while Ravalomana sent in his on Saturday.

“It’s here, if you remember, that we started five years ago, in August. The story started here, and we will continue it here because you ask for it,” Rajaonarimampianina said during a ceremony at a hotel in Antananarivo.

FILE PHOTO: Madagascar's former President Marc Ravalomanana attends a march in protest after the president denounced unrest in which two people were killed as a "coup" intended to divide the country's people in Antananarivo, Madagascar April 23, 2018. REUTERS/Clarel Faniry Rasoanaivo

Rajaonarimampianina and two of his predecessors - Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a coup in 2009, and Ravalomanana, the man he ousted - are the three most powerful politicians in Madagascar.

Rajoelina has also submitted an application.

The 2009 coup prompted an exodus of foreign investors from Madagascar, which remains one of the world’s poorest countries despite reserves of nickel, cobalt, gold, uranium and other minerals.

The island’s latest political crisis was sparked in April by a legal amendment that would have prevented Ravalomanana from standing for office.

FILE PHOTO: Madagascar's outgoing president Andry Rajoelina waves during the handover ceremony at Iavoloha Presidential Palace in the capital Antananarivo, January 24, 2014. REUTERS/John Friedrich Rabenandro

In May, Rajaonarimampianina approved a new law removing that provision, and the Constitutional Court ordered him to dissolve his government and appoint a new prime minister with the support of all parties.

Sarah Ravalomanana, the daughter to Marc Ravalomanana, submitted his papers on Saturday.

“He will talk about it later. The candidate is dad,  it’s not me,” she told Reuters.

The court will receive applications until Tuesday. Among other candidates are a musician and two former prime ministers.

Reporting by Lovasoa Rabary; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Andrew Bolton

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