14th October 1958 Madagascar, renamed the Malagasy Republic,
became an autonomous republic within the French Community
finally achieving full independence on 26th June 1960 with
Tsiranana becoming the newly emerging nation's first president.
Tsiranana's rule saw the centralisation of government, the
Merina sidelined in favour of the coastal peoples, the Social
democratic Party in total control of parliament and the
repression of dissidents. In 1967 Tsiranana strengthened ties
with the apartheid regime in South Africa however, despite being
're-elected' in 1972 ,a wave of protests swept the country that
year and Tsiranana was forced to hand power over to Gen. Gabriel
Ramanantsoa, who became prime minister with Tsiranana remaining
as nominal president.
A referendum later that year approved Ramanantsoa's plan to rule without parliament for five years and
Tsiranana resigned the presidency dying on the island of natural
causes in 1978. (His son Philippe stood in the Madagascar
presidential election of 2006, coming in twelfth with only 0.02%
of the vote.)
next period in the history of Madagascar saw a succession of
unstable governments, coups and assassination attempts at odds
with a military aim of creating a 'socialist paradise' with firm
ties to the Soviet Union and the spurning of ties with the west.
The economy of the country, renamed the Republic of Madagascar
in 1975, collapsed due to these socialist policies and the
economy was further damaged by massive falls in tourism due to
the ongoing political instability. In 2009 President Marc Ravalomanana was deposed by the
military and Andry Rajoelina (right), former Mayor of
Antananarivo and media mogul, was installed as president with a
promise to restore democracy through planned elections.
In 2010 the EU
decided to suspend humanitarian and development aid to
Madagascar in frustration at the lack of any tangible progress
towards that democracy after a fifteenth month transitional agreement
was agreed in the summer of 2009 but failed to be implemented.
In 2012 the African Union demanded that both Rajoelina and
Ravalomanana withdraw their candidature and following elections
in 2013 announced on 7th January 2014 Hery Martial
Rakotoarimanana Rajaonarimampianina proclaimed the victor with
nearly 54% of the vote as in the current president..