Topic: Marc Ravalomanana

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Marc Ravalomanana (born December 12, 1949, in Imerinkasinina) is a Malagasy politician who was the President of Madagascar from 2002 to 2009. A member of the Merina ethnic group, Ravalomanana served as Mayor of Antananarivo before becoming President in 2002. He took office as President amidst a dispute over the results of the December 2001 presidential election in which he successfully pressed his claim to have won a majority in the first round. He was re-elected in December 2006, again with a majority in the first round.

In the municipal elections held on November 14, 1999, Ravalomanana was elected as mayor of the capital, Antananarivo, receiving 45% of the vote and defeating former Prime Minister Guy Willy Razanamasy. As mayor he was credited with successfully cleaning up the capital. He announced on August 5, 2001 that he would run for President in the election to be held later that year on December 16; two months later, polls showed him to be ahead of the incumbent president, Didier Ratsiraka. Following the election, official results put Ravalomanana in first place, with 46%, against Ratsiraka's 40%; without a majority, a run-off would be required between the two. Ravalomanana, however, claimed to have won a majority in the first round, and he refused to participate in a run-off, instead demanding that the High Constitutional Court review the votes. Ratsiraka's supporters then blockaded the capital, which Ravalomanana's supporters controlled. Ravalomanana declared himself president on February 22, 2002. After a recount, on April 29, 2002 the High Constitutional Court pronounced Ravalomanana the winner of the election, and he was sworn in for a second time on May 6. The Presidency remained disputed, however, until fighting forced Ratsiraka to flee into exile on July 5, 2002, after he had lost control of most of the country's provinces.

Ravalomanana is the founder of Tiako I Madagasikara, which was the ruling party during his presidency, although he is not currently a member because, as President, he was barred from membership in a political party.

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