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Madagascar Country Profile

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Madagascar at a Glance

Location:Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique
Climate:tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south
Terrain:narrow coastal plain, high plateau and mountains in center
Resources:graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower
Hazards:periodic cyclones; drought; and locust infestation
Population:20,653,556 (July 2009 est.)




A Brief Profile of Madagascar

Formerly an independent kingdom, Madagascar became a French colony in 1896 but regained independence in 1960. During 1992-93, free presidential and National Assembly elections were held ending 17 years of single-party rule. In 1997, in the second presidential race, Didier RATSIRAKA, the leader during the 1970s and 1980s, was returned to the presidency. The 2001 presidential election was contested between the followers of Didier RATSIRAKA and Marc RAVALOMANANA, nearly causing secession of half of the country. In April 2002, the High Constitutional Court announced RAVALOMANANA the winner. RAVALOMANANA achieved a second term following a landslide victory in the generally free and fair presidential elections of 2006. In early 2009, protests do to increasing restrictions on opposition press and activities resulted in RAVALOMANANA stepping down and the presidency was conferred to the mayor of Antananarivo, Andry RAJOELINA. Early elections are likely.






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